90-Day Series Updates

Dear Readers,

I’m excited to inform you that I’ve been through each day of the FREE  90-Day A Better Me Series and the 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series and now BOTH series are fully available on FromALovingPlace.com. I provided links on each day for easy navigation through every piece of the series. Now that the series is complete, it makes it easier to read like you would a book. Whether you are reading the series again, like some of you have told me you are, or you are new to the 90-Day A Better Me journey, I hope you enjoy it. It was a pleasure to write it and an even greater pleasure to talk with the followers of both series.

Now, I need to go and focus on the editing my book coming out at the end of 2019. If you want to stay in the loop, make sure to subscribe to e-mails. Thank you for all the readers, followers, and commenters. I appreciate each and every one of you!!

Here at the direct links to both series:

90-Day A Better Me Series

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

 

Happy reading!

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2019

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 57 -What I Represent in the World

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 57: What I Represent in the World

Dear Self,

I’m clear about what I want more of in the world, which is seeing individuals living life from a loving place. I am responsible for the energy I put out to support this cause, which means I’m going to represent myself in a way that shows this in action. My awareness is essential when my mind is getting taken over by fearful thoughts or worrying about what others think of my journey. I commit to being vigilant in facing my fears, so that I can transform them into love, the energy I’m doing my best to represent.

When I engage with people who think differently than I do, I’m responsible for my choices in how I communicate my thoughts and visions. I’m not responsible for their energy. I know that change, growth, and expansion are apart of my journey and what I’m representing, so it is important for me to remain open and listen to/for connections with others through love. How is what they are communicating represent the love within them? If I want to see more love in the world than I need to ask enough questions to dig through people’s fears to find the love, which is sometimes buried deep down.

I’m open to listen to others point of views no matter how different they are from mine. I’m open and willing to examine my perspectives of truth to make sure that they represent what I stand for. I’m open and willing to change, grow, shift, and expand as I go along.

I accept that this journey is not about doing things perfectly. This journey of living from a loving place comes with many lessons. I’m going to see where I still need work and need to grow. I’m going to be challenged by my fears to act against, but I’m responsible for what I represent in the world at every moment. I have to choose whether to represent the love or the fear within me. I am responsible for the rewards and/or consequences of the energy I’m choosing to represent.

When I choose to represent love, I feel good inside and out. When I choose fear, I end up walking around in my head and missing opportunities to see anything but more fear, anger, hate, resentment, and violence. I keep reminding myself that what I’m seeing is a reflection of what is going on inside of me and ask myself:

  • What am I representing in this moment?
  • How does it feel to represent this energy?
  • What is keeping me in the energy of fear?
  • What is inspiring me to contribute to the energy of love?
  • What am I really representing by the choices I’m making in this moment?

I commit to keep writing, keep reading, keep listening, keep growing, and keep loving. I want to represent loving action like many who have come before me. I want to contribute my energy to changes I want to see in the world.

I know the only way I can do this is to make sure my energy on what I want to give the world is in-line with the energy I’m feeding into myself. I’m making sure that I take the time to take care of and nurture the love within me. I’m treating myself with the love and respect that I deserve. I’m holding myself accountable for my feelings, thoughts, and actions that I’m choosing towards myself. I am enough. I know my worth. I love the person I am. I treat myself accordingly. I know my actions speak louder than any words will ever be able to do.

I commit to continually asking myself the question:

How are my actions representing what I want to see in the world?

Today I’m grateful

  1. I’m grateful for opportunities to see love in action
  2. I’m grateful for the time to show myself the love I deserve
  3. I’m grateful to be apart of the lives of the people who choose to read what I write.
  4. I’m grateful to be apart of the lives of my family, friends, and loved ones.
  5. I’m grateful for my ability to listen to people who think differently than I do,

With Love and Gratitude,

 

A Better Me

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Don’t forget to read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 57 – Being Clear on What You Stand For

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 Break-Up Playlist

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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!

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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

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

 

Let Today be the Day You Start a New Journey of Discovery

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As the new moon approaches, now is time for us to look at where we are and focus on who we see ourselves uncovering. Are you ready to manifest the life you have dreamt of? How are you feeling about yourself? Do you think you deserve the life you are requesting? Are you willing to put in the effort to get it? Why does it matter how you feel about yourself?

In order to get rid of old patterns that keep us where we are, we have to embrace new thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Negative patterns all stem from the way we are treating ourselves. Some of these patterns have passed through generations and are so embedded that we don’t even know that they are there. In order to move past our roadblocks we have to look for new ways that will get us to where we want to go. We can’t just sit and wait. We have to take charge and do something different.

When we are setting intentions we have to know from the deepest core of our being that we are worthy of these changes we are seeking in our lives. If we don’t, we won’t recognize the signs that are leading us there, and we will continue to get lessons to help us to open our eyes. We will get hit with emotional 2x4s if we don’t start paying attention to what is keeping us from getting the life we envision for ourselves. Here are a few questions to help you dig down and see what might be holding you back:

  • Do you have belief and behavior patterns that go against what we are asking for?
  • Do you have negative feelings about success and/or money?
  • How do you view people who have a lot of success or money? Do you criticize them or feel happy for them? Do you hate the rich?
  • Do you put up invisible forcefields around your heart because you feel unworthy of love?
  • Do you let your physical restrictions take charge of your inner worth?
  • Do you keep the word “can’t” as your safety mechanism as an excuse not to try?
  • Do you fill yourself with messages such as, “life is hard”, “I’m going crazy”, “This is too hard”, “life is a struggle”, “I must suffer”, “money is evil”, “I hate money”?

Pay close attention to the messages that are going through your head and feeding the energy that you are putting out into the world. If these are the messages that are going through your head a better life will continue to be out of reach. If you are looking to change set intentions for the process.

  • Today, I will be more aware of the obstacles I am creating in my own mind.
  • Today, I will show myself kindness, respect and love.
  • Today, I will see my value and appreciate the gifts I give to the world.

If you can spot the negative messages you are carrying, write them down. Then for each one write three different ways you can choose to view the situation. These lists are not about being right or wrong, they are about seeing that there are other ways to look at something, and that it is our choice and our own personal power to choose how we see it. Here are a few examples:

Money is evil:

  1. Money is just paper, it only has the energy that I put into it.
  2. Money can help accomplish wonderful things.
  3. Money is wonderful.

I am never going to find love:

  1. Love is everywhere.
  2. Love is within me.
  3. I am complete in loving myself.

Life is hard

  1. Life flows and will give me what I need to be the best version of me.
  2. Life is a classroom and the lessons are as easy or hard as I make them.
  3. Life is what I make of it.

How we choose to live our lives is OUR choice.

How are YOU going to CHOOSE to live it?

If you like what you have read, scroll down and see the ways you can follow my blog. Have a beautiful day!

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

Continue reading “Leaving Autopilot and Becoming Present”

5 Lessons in Personal Growth

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On the journey of self discovery there are some key elements we learn on the way, but we don’t always read about them in books. We all have our own journey and our own landscape to develop. We have our own personal taste to account for. Not everyone’s garden looks the same. We each have our own ideas on what looks right together and how we want it to flow. It is not our business to judge other’s journeys. Enjoy the landscape you create and let others have room to develop their own. You will have plenty of opportunities to give people seeds, it is up to them if they want to use them. A few things seem to be the same for all personal growth. After many attempts in breaking old patterns and developing new ones, here is what I have learned:

1. Personal Growth is a Process

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When we are ready to change, we tend to jump in with both feet and expect drastic results in a short period of time. This is NOT how it works. Personal growth is much like the process of planting a seed. First, you have to obtain the seed, then you have to find good soil to plant it in, then it takes a combination of care techniques to get it to grow properly. Some plants and/or trees need direct sun, and others need indirect sun. Every plant needs water, but some require less than others. We are as unique as the varieties of plants and trees that grow in the Earth. The process takes time. Just like any other type of life form, when we are sick, it takes us time to heal. We have to allow ourselves the time to form healthier habits and break old patterns. Some of the patterns have been embedded for generations. That requires a lot of undoing and changing of patterns. Give yourself time, be patient, and understand the process is different for everybody. Different methods will work for different people. The best way to know which way will help is to sample many different ways of learning. The ones that feel right will work for as long as they are supposed to, then it will be time to try something else. Some, like water for a plant, will remain essential, others will be able to fade away and change.

Doing too much at once is never a good idea. We tend to burn out and the seed can’t be brought to life. It takes awhile for unhealthy patterns to take hold, and it takes awhile to grow into healthier patterns, routines and habits. The process may seem slow, but think about the amount of time it takes to grow a garden from scratch or how long it takes for a tree to stand tall. Allow yourself the time to break one unhealthy pattern at a time while strengthening  the positive attributes you already have within you. Stay present in the process, it is the greatest gift of the journey.

2. Everything We Read, See, and Hear is a Seed

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We are given tons of seeds throughout the day. We choose which ones to keep and which ones to toss out. The longer we hold onto them, the more eager we are to collect more that will grow with the ones we already have. When we are given seeds of hate agendas, we can choose to plant them or throw them out. The most important thing to know, it’s our choice! We don’t have to plant every seed that is given to us, the stronger we become on this journey, the less we will plant. We will discover over time that we are in control of how things affect our lives. Be watchful about what seeds you are holding onto. When we put too much energy into them, they will begin to grow.

3. Everything We Say, Write, Think, and Do is Planting the Seed

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This is an important lesson, and one not to be taken lightly. We are the only ones who have control over which seeds are planted and which ones grow. We can choose loving ones or fearful ones at any moment. No actions come without benefits and consequences. We need to take responsibility for the seeds we plant. That includes the ones that were given to us by abusers, racists, narcissists, and overall miserable people. We can choose to believe and feed the hate and lies or we can rise above. Some people thrive on feeding us seeds of hate. Industries make fortunes on it, some want us to hate ourselves and others want us to hate others. Our reaction is we get the choice to plant it or throw it away. When we can see the person with compassion and forgiveness, we are throwing hateful seeds away and planting loving ones. When we are reacting in fear and hate we are holding onto it; we are planting that seed. The stories we tell our friends and family, is planting our seeds and giving seeds to them. What seeds do you want to give to your loved ones?

4. The Energy We Put Into Upkeep Determines the Health of Our Garden

IMG_2897Self-talk is the key! It all starts with the messages we are feeding ourselves. It will determine if we are going to grow seeds from love or fear. Our internal hate messages can grow some ugly gardens, filled with weeds, strangling plants, and poisons. If we are hurtful on the inside we are giving the people around us the seeds from our personal gardens. We are blaming, shaming, and overall spreading pain. We all have combinations of species both healthy for the life in our garden and/or destructive. Which one has the majority in your mind? The more we can treat ourselves with love, the more seeds of love we have to give out. We all know what spreading hate looks like, but do we truly understand how much power we give it by engaging in it?

Healthy seeds become flowers, food, healing remedies, shade, and oxygen. We can feed the world with our choices. We can also hurt more than we can even imagine. When we learn to have love and compassion for those around us and learn to forgive, not for the other person but for our own garden’s growth, miracles are born and flourish with the seeds of hope.

5. We Can Pull Weeds, Trim Trees, and Get Rid of Dead Weight at ANY Time

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No one has a perfect garden, if we were perfect, our journey here would be done. That is how we learn. We need to give ourselves a break. The most wonderful part of it all is that we can change the look of our landscape at any time. It is all about the work we are willing to put in. If we chop down an unhealthy tree without digging up the roots, it can still poison the foundation for new seeds to grow. Undoing the old patterns takes time to unearth. Understand, you are not perfect and everything that happens to us offers us great lessons. Sometimes it’s about how we will use it to help others. Other times we are exposed to things we need to see in order to break unhealthy patterns. We get what we need, trust the process. Your pain does not have to be in vain. It can give the world beautiful gifts of hope.

You may need to re-visit unhealthy roots that you thought you got rid of. They may reappear, so that you can dig deeper. In the end, it will be a gift, but it can feel more painful than you ever thought you could handle. Once it has all passed, look back; you survived! You are strong! Just keep pulling those weeds, tearing up the roots, and re-building a healthier space.

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If you are interested in planting more seeds of hope and love, follow From A Loving Place on Facebook and join me on my journey here. Find voices that ring true for you. Life can be an amazing adventure when we feel through the pain into awareness. Trust the process and be kind to yourself. Now, go create the garden of your dreams!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

**Every photo except the orchid picture was taken on 3/18/2016 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida by Rachael Wolff. The orchid picture was taken a few weeks back.

Bring On 40

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“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.”

-Carl G. Jung

Today, I’m 40. I have been looking forward to this day for many reasons. First, I made it!!!! Yes, I had some sketchy years that made me question if I was going to make it to 40, but I did it. I survived it all! In my darkest hours, when I begged God to take me, I was left here. I questioned, what did I do to deserve this? Why me? Why does God hate me? Will this life get any better? Why am I doomed to be miserable?  I spent my teenage years hating myself so much that I didn’t believe I deserved a place on this planet.

I had no idea I was being carried through those years. Now I see the gifts I received to get me through. The people, the AMAZING people, who entered my life at that time. It is overwhelming to think about them now. I was given SO many growth opportunities; SO fast. I didn’t know my own strength, but I got through, and I survived. I had an army of support. I just didn’t know it. I was so wrapped up in feeling alone, you couldn’t convince me otherwise.

Throughout most of my 20’s, I was career focused. I found a place as a sales trainer on stage and traveling; the two things I loved most. From the outside, I was living the life. The problem was, I relied on everyone else telling me how great I was. Their opinions are what mattered. If I spoke in a room with 1,000 people and five didn’t like me, those were the five I based my value on. I studied drama in high school. I knew how to become a different character without any problem. When I was on stage, I was on. When I was off stage and the curtains were drawn, I was a mess. I was one sick puppy. I was addicted to a horrible type of power and control. My intimate relationships were a direct reflection of how I treated myself. It got so bad, one bled into the other. I sabotaged my career and went on a five year downward spiral. This is where I learned humility. I lost my identity and became the labels of wife and mom, but there was no me in sight. November 2008, I was sent an Earth Angel.   A woman entered my life as an answered prayer. That was the beginning of me discovering who I was buried underneath all the layers.

More AMAZING miracles came into my life, they were disguised as incredible and strong women. These amazing examples gave me the courage to look at myself, and say YOU ARE WORTH IT! March 9, 2009 was my 33rd birthday. I was so sick of my situation. I was done blaming everyone else, it was time for me to take back my life.  That was the day, I walked into Al-Anon. It was there, I began to look at the unhealthy patterns in my life and started getting the tools to undo the mess I created. I kept being led to read books that would have profound effects on my life. I worked hard, and I was determined.

A month after turning 35, I left my old life behind. I moved, became a single mother, and  began school that fall. These last five years have been full of learning. Only this time, in a much healthier and less traumatic way. I have learned a lot about myself on this journey. Now, I get to share what I have learned with you.

Today, on my 40th birthday, I am me. I know and love the person I have become. It has been a long road, but well worth it. I am grateful for EVERY piece of my journey, because without each and every lesson, I wouldn’t be me. It was through my struggles, I learned to be compassionate towards others. It is through my pain, I found my inspiration. It is through all my tears (which is A LOT) from joy and/or sadness, I found my passion. So, I say bring on 40!

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I feel truly blessed.

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

 

The Power of Nature

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“Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their innermost being, their true nature.”

-Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose p. 2

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Location:  Myakka River in Venice, FL

Seeing the beauty in nature is how I know when I am completely in the moment. If I can pay attention to the details; I’m there. My head is no longer visiting the past or questioning the future. I am at one with the moment. For this reason, I know when I am scattered and lost too. If I can drive down the road and not spot anything beautiful outside I’m gone. My head is so wrapped up in the chaos tornado whirling the past and future around and in my head. It is my sign to slow down, take three long and deep breaths and re-engage with the moment.

If I have ability to go outside in these moments, I go find the nearest tree. I stand on the roots, touch the trunk, and breathe. If I can get myself to the point where I feel the tingles of energy running through me, I’m re-centered. Then I start to pay attention to all the beautiful things in nature around me. This is how my day transforms. Everything becomes more elaborate and alive. The best part, my mind is clear.

These are the times, I am open to guidance, signs, and miracles. If I’m busy with my tornado, nothing is clear. I miss the giant signs telling me what to do. I get caught up in desperate prayers, but don’t give myself space to hear and/or see the reply. Nature is how I gage how I am doing. If I can find the awe, I’m in a good place. Awe is where miracles are seen.

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Location: Venice, FL

I was once told, “I don’t have time to get outside and appreciate nature.” That would be to say, the person never leaves the house or looks out a window. Nature is around us. It is the wildlife, clouds, colors, water, desert, trees, flowers, and plants. When a person says this, it is not that they don’t have time. They are not ready to get out of their own tornado. Where we put our focus tells us a lot. If we can’t see the beauty around us, we most certainly are not seeing it within us. This effects the way we see both other people and the situations surrounding us. We must put the energy into the things we want to see in the world. As our inner focus transforms our thinking, our outer world reflects the change.

In order for me to stay in-line with my purpose, I must focus on the beauty within and surrounding me. Not to say, I don’t have my bad days. I live in a coastal city in Florida. Driving in tourist season is a reminder of the work I still need to do. I also am a parent of two young children; enough said. I don’t always handle these situations in a zen-like manner. The point is, nobody is perfect. Life will throw us opportunities to dive into the fear or the love. We need both to grow. The question is, which one is at the foundation.

My relationship with nature has got me through a lot of sticky situations. I have had the opportunity to see so many amazing miracles in my life, just by getting outside.

A tree taught me the importance of getting rid of dead weight in order to grow. I also learned about the energy they give off and how to use it to help me center myself.

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Location: Ringling Museum, Sarasota, FL

Sunrises and sunsets is how I remember to be in complete AWE. Sunrises taught me about the magic of the peace of quiet in the early morning hours. Sunsets have filled me with the magic of light.

Locations: Sunrise – Hayesville, NC  Sunset: Naples, FL

The eagle gave me a glimpse of strength, perspective, and a reminder to soar.

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Swamp walks taught me the importance of being present, because boy can stepping on the wrong thing hurt your feet.

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Location: Naples, FL (My son and I) Photo Credit: Daniel (Zeke) Schryver

Being quiet in the woods helps me to pay attention to all of its amazing sounds. It is also the reminder of all the creatures we share the Earth with. We are just one small piece to a very large puzzle. It is important to me to respect that. It also keeps me in perspective. The world does not revolve around me. Other people don’t do things to intentionally hurt me. They are unconscious and taking their own pain out on me, because I am there. When I can  get there, I’m at peace.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia

I become as solid as the mountain that I love looking out from.

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Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia

As my thirties are coming to an end, I noticed they were about letting go of the past and discovering the life I was meant to live. It was in these past ten years that I have been able to really see nature’s way of showing me how to live life fuller and connect to it’s messages. My life became amazing when I connected to the AWE!

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff

Photo Credit: All pictures, except the one noted, were taken by Rachael Wolff. It is important to me to share my personal moments with you, because they are a big part of my journey.