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Soul Shift: How to Get Unstuck and Reclaim Your Joy / Interview with Rachel Stafford, the Hands-Free Mama

Rachel Macy Stafford is the New York Times bestselling author of Hands-Free Mama, Hands-Free Life, Only Love Today, and Live Love Now. Rachel is a certified special education teacher whose personal strategies are universal invitations to embrace life with urgency and cultivate connection despite the distractions of our culture.

Today she joins the podcast to talk about her new book: Soul Shift: The Weary Human’s Guide to Getting Unstuck and Reclaiming Your Path to Joy. You’ll love this conversation about learning to recognize and utilize our emotional triggers as invitations to release limiting beliefs, build healthy connections, and expand our capacity to flourish.

Let’s dive in!

What You Will Learn: 

  • What our to-do lists are preventing us from experiencing? 
  • The process of breaking free from control. 
  • How we choose what gets priority in our lives versus what we should choose. 
  • What shifts Rachel began to see in her children as she experienced a soul shift herself. 
  • The benefits of being authentic with others.
  • Releasing the need for our children to fit in our preconceived ideas and letting them be themselves completely. 
  • The distinction between mindfulness, gratitude, and toxic positivity.

Where to find Rachel Stafford:

Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:

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And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone, and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy. And I’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.

I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.

SHERYL:  Welcome, Rachel, to The Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. I’m so happy that you’re here.

RACHEL:  I’m happy to be here.

SHERYL:  Well, we are going to have such a good conversation. I am super excited about your latest book that just came out. You’re a New York Best Selling Author. You’ve written four books. I have them all. The first one was Hands-free Mama. And now you have come out with your fifth book. 

It’s coming out in March. So we want everybody to buy early. But it’s called Soul Shift: The Weary Hands Guide to Getting Unstuck and Reclaiming Your Path to Joy. I love reading this book right now. It’s so much what moms listening need to hear. 

I want you to jump in and tell us a little bit about your story. But what I was struck by that resonated with you is how the three main people in your life set you on this journey. And can you talk about that a little bit?

RACHEL:  I would love to. So, my personality is like a planner. I like to have predictability in my life, which makes me feel a sense of calm. I’m going along in my life, and I am like, Okay, I have planned out how they will go. 

And then I fall in love with a person who has this spontaneous spirit about him, Scott. And he doesn’t think anything of, ” Oh, hey, we have this opportunity to move to a new state next week because there’s this great opportunity for my job. And I’m like. I would like to take a year to plan something like that.

Scott, my life pushed me out of this comfort zone of, like, I like to plan, I like to know what’s happening. So, because sometimes we would move, I think we moved seven times before my girls were in elementary school. So just having to start fresh each time and each new city was hard for me, but also good for me, to be apt to be pushed out of that comfort zone. 

But then, meanwhile, we’re going to all these new places. So I realize that the children I have also are pushing me out of my comfort zone. So the three people who pushed me to start this journey of looking at myself and thinking, okay, here’s an opportunity to grow and learn what makes me thrive, and it may not be what I thought it was. 

So I have Scott, Natalie, and Avery. And Natalie was when she was little, and she was just such a risk-taker. And always just being so independent. And so that also threw me for a loop. 

Then we have Avery, a “noticer” because she’s he takes in the world very intentionally, very slowly. And so that was a thorn in my side because I’m all about, let’s be productive, let’s be efficient. 

I realized that the more I tried to cling to my way of having things be planned out and predictable, the more it took away from their true inherent gifts. 

It was like the harder I grasped to have control and have my girls be who I thought they should be and, Scott, he not to be spontaneous and easygoing. I’m like, How can you be so relaxed right now? Like, it’s driving me crazy. 

I was turned into a toxic manager in my house. And that is just getting to that point when I realized I don’t like the person I’m becoming. Scott told me, You’re never happy anymore, Rachel. Hearing that and hearing him say it, not in a judgmental way. But like a concerned, sad, Where did this joyful person that I once knew, where did she go? 

And a few little seeds were planted along the way. But that’s one of them that made me aware that I was not going down the path I wanted to go down. I needed to look good at myself, stop blaming my external circumstances, and just start looking inside.

SHERYL:  Ah, Rachel, that is so beautiful. I love the quote from your book: the more I tried to control the natural inclinations of my children and wired your husband, the more pain and discomfort I caused. I know that the moms listening can so relate, and I certainly relate, that managing everybody you talk about. 

So, I don’t have to feel all the anxiety, the upset, all the feelings I’m feeling inside, I’m going to try and manage everybody, so I don’t have to feel that, which is what you think about in your book. And I’m like, Yes, because my oldest was strong-willed and impulsive, too. 

I was just always on high alert. Hard for me to calm my nervous system down. Yeah, just bringing up a lot of stuff. But often, I’d think, If I could just get her to be less impulsive, then I wouldn’t feel all of those feelings rather than what you’re saying to embrace the essence of who they are and then use it as an opportunity for growth, healing, and learning. 

Yeah, it is so much what Soul Shift is about. So tell us how you began to break free from the control.

RACHEL:  So because I’m a special education teacher of kids with severe behavior issues, I am familiar with the concept that if you have big changes that you want to make in your life or your behavior, it’s not going to happen through these big sweeping changes or overhauling your life. 

So it was good that I knew that because when I fully accepted and realized just how much pain I was causing my family, I realized, okay, I need to make changes. But how do I do that? I have responsibilities. I have obligations, and I have a life. So I can’t just chuck my phone out the window, not stop going to my stressful job. I can’t stop those things. 

But what can I do? So the practice of presence is where I began to loosen that grip that I felt all the time. I felt like I was always late. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was always about to scream at someone. 

And so I started with just these very small time increments. Ten minutes of pushing all of my distractions away. So like, the phone was a huge trigger for me, like where I would let whatever’s happening on the phone, whether it’s a notification or someone’s asking me to do something, pull me away a lot. 

So the phone, the computer because of my work, and I was taking classes at the time, it was like, I don’t want to multitask my life away. So what do I need to do to have this block of undistracted time? 

So my to-do list was also a huge part of what sabotaged my joy and my being at the moment because I was always like, well, if it’s not on the list, it’s not worth doing. 

Our society is all about what you can check off the list, and you can’t check off the connection, connecting with your heart or your loved one. And so that kind of stuff fell to the bottom of my list. So, my practice of presence didn’t matter what I was doing.

Sometimes I was journaling. Sometimes I was just reading through my grandma’s letters because my grandma always made me feel so good about myself. Whether it was just sitting outside with listening to the birds, it didn’t matter what I was doing in that practice of presence. The conditions were the part that mattered. 

No phone, no computer, no to-do list. And, for me, no guilt. It’s really hard to practice presence if you’re also criticizing yourself, saying, you are a bad mom or, you aren’t going to be able to do this; you’re not going to be able to sit here for 10 minutes and be present. So also relinquishing that judgment of myself to just be in that moment. 

I found over time, by practicing presence, that I didn’t have to be scared of some of those uncomfortable feelings I had been practically running from. And those uncomfortable feelings. A lot of it has to do with my sense of worth. And being present with myself, I admitted I don’t feel like I’m enough, and a lot of time, I feel insecure. 

I’m projecting that onto my children. So when I’m yelling at them before we go out to a social event, I’m not yelling at them because maybe they aren’t ready; I’m yelling at them because I just stood in front of the mirror for 10 minutes and berated myself about how I look. 

So all of this awareness about what is triggering me to control, to yell to manage, and just strive all the time with this sense of, I’m not worthy, unless I do this, this or this, or unless I look this way. And so the practice of presence was the beginning of this journey, where I developed other practices, one of which was the practice of self-worth. 

To get back in touch with those parts of myself that I didn’t think were worthy or that someone had told me I couldn’t do. You’re not smart enough, or you’re not creative enough. You don’t look the part, so having to sit with those uncomfortable feelings, some of the things that people had said to me, and be able to say, wait a minute, that that’s not my truth. That’s something someone said to me. They don’t know me. And that is where it all began with the practice of presence and sitting with myself. 

SHERYL:  Yeah, what I’m struck by, or resonate with, is the feeling like enough and the doing doing doing, and what I have to do to be worthy. I have to be more. I have to fill in the blank whatever those limiting beliefs we have. But I’m wondering about you. 

I discovered that I’m trying to do less, but as things grow, there’s more demand for what we’re doing. But I’m shocked at how everything ends up being okay. When I make time for those things to connect, I journal everything that fills me up. And I’m like, Oh, the sky isn’t falling. I can’t. 

I have more peace and more joy. And that’s what you talk about: the more we can make room for those things, the heavier, and I’m sure you found that. 

Can you talk about the difference it made in your life and the difference? Did it change your relationship with your kids? Since you started doing this? Could you write a lot about that? 

RACHEL:  Absolutely. I mean, it was a pretty immediate realization. That’s okay when I would see an opportunity for connection. Whether it was my husband coming home and entering the door. I went over to him, looked into his eyes, and said, I’m so happy to see you, or whether it was one of my girls working on something at the kitchen table, and I sat down physically and just be there with her. 

I found all that stuff that we feel is so urgent, like, I don’t have time to do these things, we realize, wait for a second. So it puts the things that the world calls urgent into perspective. Because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in, I have to meet the demands that the external world is putting on me that I can’t do what I need to or what my family needs me to do. 

But the truth is, in those moments of connection, you feel a peace and a calm you don’t feel when running from point A to point B at 100 miles per hour. So every time I would choose connection over efficiency, productivity speed, I would remember, ah, this is what matters. That other stuff truly can wait. 

People say this is urgent. What? That’s your opinion. I’m deciding what’s urgent and what gets a priority in my life. And it’s funny because when I realized, Okay, I’m gonna have to start saying no to people and say, No, for me, is not an easy thing. 

But I was like, Okay, if I want to have these pockets of time where I can be present, I’m going to have to say no, start saying no to things. And I’ll never forget when I said no, to someone who called from the girl’s school who wanted me to head up a book fair. And Rachel, can you head up the book fair? I am known for being organized. 

And, once you get on that list of, she can knock things out, you’re gonna get called a lot. So I said, alright, Rachel, this is your chance. This is all you’ve been practicing. So I said, I’m so sorry. But I’m not going to be able to do that this time. 

And she goes, Oh, no problem. I’ll just go to the next person on the list. And I was like, wait a minute. There’s a list. And I didn’t know about this. So I wondered why I always thought it had to be me. 

I think we don’t realize, wait for a second, I don’t have to hold up the world and every single area of my life, and I am worthy of saying no, this is not going to work for me. I’m making time for what I want to do instead of what I have to please, or I will not be worthy.  

I had to accommodate because I was an Accommodator. Always trying to make sure everybody was happy. But guess who’s not happy than me? I’m not happy, and then it’s affecting everyone in my family, and then my whole house is this very toxic environment.

SHERYL:  Yeah, that is so good for somebody. I’ll go to the next person on the list. I love how you compare the demands we put on ourselves based on the external world. And like, oh, somebody wants me, somebody needs me. But then we’re choking on the things in our home to do that pleasing, right? 

And then we want everybody to get on the program. In the book, you never say rejection, always a connection. And I love that, like never rejection, and how you were talking about just how it was spilling over and how you responded to your kids. 

And accepting yourself and not rejecting yourself helped build that connection. And, you talk about Avery in the book, where you start seeing her talking differently to herself, her self-talk. Can you share some of the shifts you saw in your kids due to doing the whole soul shift?

RACHEL:  Definitely. So one of the biggest motivators, I guess, for me to take that look inward was Natalie – my oldest, and I was saying, Natalie is a risk taker, spontaneous, sometimes, she just dives right in. And it would be like, that’s going to be messy, or you’re going to make a mistake. And, so, I’m projecting all these limiting beliefs on Natalie. 

I watch over time as she loses the kind of this light in her. She starts picking the top of her lip because she’s anxious. After all, I would blow up over small things. And she would then want to fix them. 

And so it was interesting that when I was able to say to her, I am mean to myself, sometimes, and when I’m mean to myself, I’m mean to you. And saying that the beginning of this idea is that I don’t have to hide my loneliness from my children. Putting it out there helps because Natalie said it’s not my fault. 

I started saying; I’m anxious because grandma is in the hospital. And so I just need you to give me some quiet time. So being able to tell my girls, like, I’m anxious because of this, they will know that I’m not lashing out at them because of something they’ve done. So then they don’t internalize that. 

But that idea of always being connected is never rejected. Through that communication of our most uncomfortable feelings, I realized I wanted to tell Avery how to dress. Because she is dressing in a way that I feel will not portray our family the way I want to portray us, I can’t let her pick out her clothes. 

So when I realize I’m walking into Avery’s room, she’s gotten herself dressed – she was seven or eight at the time. She’s twirling in front of the mirror because she’s put on this little skirt with this top that doesn’t match. She’s done her hair. 

She is looking at herself. Like, I am so beautiful. And I’m coming in there to tell her, is that what you’re gonna wear? And thankfully, I’ve been working on my own, paying attention to those uncomfortable feelings. And I’m looking at her, and I’m like, do you want to be why her joy is sabotaged now? Because You can take it from her by saying, is that what you’re gonna wear, or I think you should wear this, instead of you did a good job. 

I love that you have a sense of style. So, beginning to separate my worthiness that came from appearance, being able to recognize Rachel,  your worth is not wrapped up in your appearance. And if you don’t want Avery and Natalie to go through life thinking that their appearance defines their worth, then you should keep your mouth shut and let her be. 

And so let her becomes one of my mantras, let her be, let her be herself, let her come as she is. And then, starting to say it to myself, I stopped getting in front of the mirror because the mirror was so damaging to my dreams and my connection with people in my office authenticity. 

I’m like, I know, I’m not going to show up. So suppose I stand in front of the mirror before I go and do what I’ve wanted to do. So I stopped using the mirror, started putting on hats, and could just go out the door.

SHERYL:  Yeah, and you’ve looked so good. Well, you have your red hat. And I love that. You show one of your kids and have a whole blog post. But I just love that you said so many good things. Just that mantra of let her be. 

I call it the image manager in me that wants my image. And so my kids being a reflection of, like, I relate to the clothing part, especially when they hit the tween years.

And maybe, they dressed so cute, and you could dress them, and now they’re starting to dress, how they want to dress and just being like, let them find out their sense of style. 

Let them know what a big deal is, but just that they monitor us, let her be, let her show up as it’s like how healing that is.

RACHEL:  And since you mentioned tweens and teens, I think it is important that we recognize that they’re showing up in the way they feel most comfortable. And that’s one thing that I had to get used to, as I’ve always I was raised like if you’re going out to dinner, you’re going to get kind of dressed up. 

And so I know that sometimes teenagers today just want to be in their comfy clothes. And so I had to learn, like, is this something I want to battle about? Or can I just let her show up in the way that she’s most comfortable? Because sometimes the reason they dress a certain way is related to their body image

And so letting them be and, it’s like, well, what’s the point here? Do I want her to come and join us at the restaurant? Or do I want to force her to wear something that she’s not going to feel comfortable in, and then she’s not going to want to come the part that I tried to focus on is I just want her to be there. 

I want her to be there so that she feels most comfortable and lets go of my expectations because I think the expectations we put on our loved ones can affect how we treat them.

SHERYL:  Yeah, and then you end up saying something before you go out to dinner and get in a fight. And then you go to dinner, and the most important thing that matters is that connection. And here, we’re going out together, and it doesn’t feel good.

RACHEL:  Exactly.

SHERYL:  You say something else that fits with this. It struck me when you wrote that we see each other scars and we love each other more. And I learned that that was shocking when I started my growth journey, like ten years 15 years ago. 

Because it was the opposite of what I believed, I thought if I could portray to the world this perfect, try to be perfect, look good, and have it all together. 

But then being with other safe people and being vulnerable is what you share beautifully through everything you write. It does make us. Yeah, it does help us to love each other more. And because I read what you write, when you share your vulnerable side, it makes me love you through the pages of your book. And then, in turn, it helps me to love myself more. And, so, talk a little bit about how you experience this. 

RACHEL:  That is what you were just saying. But unfortunately, so many of us grew up thinking we had to hide our insecurities, our failures, and the parts of myself that were not so pretty and unbecoming. 

I remember a phone call from a friend very distinctly, and I happened to be crying because I had just learned from the school that my youngest daughter would not be going to the next grade because of some problems, her learning style, and a social issue. 

I could not pull myself together because I had just gotten off the phone. And my friend said, Oh, my gosh, what’s wrong, and I just blurted out, this is what’s happening. And she said, Rachel, this happened to us too. And she said you are the right person to go beside Avery in this journey. 

And just like I was the right person to take my son through it. And I thought, oh my gosh, like, if I hadn’t told her what was going on, I would not be able to have this comforting feeling and this friend that I could combine in. 

And so being able to talk to her about what we were going through. That was where that phrase came from. When we see each other scars, we love each other more. And I loved her. The more I could talk honestly with her, the more she talked honestly with me. And that, honestly, you really can’t experience true belonging. 

If you have a facade up, you experience true belonging through your authentic self, and your authentic self has some parts of you that are not going to be shiny and pretty. And things that you want to be telling the world. But if you can talk to someone and find that safe person, you’ll be surprised because then you can become that safe person for them. 

SHERYL:  So beautiful. Yeah, they exchange. And I want you to speak a little bit about your book because you break it down into eight practices. 

And you have exercises in the book to walk you through these practices of Soul Shift. And so can you just, I don’t expect to go through, all eight of them. 

And you’ve spoken about some of them, but how did you choose them? What do you think is most important to share with the listeners about them?

RACHEL:  So the way I set up the Soul Shift journey in this book is very similar to how I experienced it. And that is, it was not a linear growth experience. It was kind of all over the place. 

I started with the practice of presence. I had no idea that would lead to the practice of self-worth. So it’s like I’m sitting with myself and letting these uncomfortable feelings come up, and then I’m readily realizing, wow, I am basing my worth on external measurements. 

But that’s not what I value. I don’t value how people look and how successful they are. I value people for their kindness and their generosity. And so it was like, going through these practices, and then like, as a special education teacher, I realized, okay, I can make a strategy that will help me return to what measures my worth. 

It’s not this. It’s how I’m showing up in the world and helping other people. And so this journey of practices, eight practices, like true self-worth, letting go of perfection, being kind to yourself, being your authentic self, self-forgiveness, and offering your gifts to the world. 

Those practices all evolved by working through this journey. And so I would realize, okay, now I’m getting a handle on measuring my self-worth by meaningful measures. I’m starting to realize that my control is also related to that. And it’s because I think I want things to be perfect, but I’m afraid it will not be enough. 

So then I start working on releasing this need to control this need for things to go as planned. So again, I develop a strategy. I realize I like to control things too. I’m going to accept things as they unfold. You can’t just go from that thought to that thought. There is a there’s a shift. 

There’s a behavior pattern that needs to be shifted. And I call those habit shifts in the book. And so I walk people through what this looked like for me. What might that look like for you?

Because the thing about these practices and this territory, like this garden territory, is that you can go in any direction you want. And you might jump from practice of presence to self-forgiveness because when you’re sitting with yourself, you might realize I am beating yourself up for past mistakes. 

And until I forgive myself, I will not be able to feel joy. So you might jump from the practice of presence to self-forgiveness and start working through self-forgiveness. And again, I have little strategies that I use. They’re called baggage releasers that help people set down the baggage they’re carrying that is blocking them from their joy.

 And in all of these practices, you’ll find your obstacle to joy. And you’re going to find something you can do to shift from a painful truth like I’m missing my life. I’m worthy of showing up for every minute of my life. So it’s like a bridge that I help you get from this thought to not just thinking this but believing this, I’m worthy of showing up for every moment of my life.

SHERYL:  And that is so transformative. And so healing, and I think we often just want to arrive, and you talk about that over and over and over again that this is a journey it takes time. 

Even how you started with noticing how you were feeling in your body, which you talk about and then how you were feeling and then those messages that you were telling yourself and then to be able to write it down through the exercises so you can look at it because writing it down I’m sometimes shocked with what comes up. 

And rather than just thinking it, you’re working through those things and then able to write, take the false limiting belief, and change it into what’s true. Like, look at it, and like you said, Is this true? Is this? What do I value? But I’m living as if because I’m hiding parts of myself. So yeah, I’d love the baggage analogy because it stops weighing us down.

RACHEL:  And honestly, the main thing I want people to get when they’re reading this is to realize you have the answers inside you. This book is not going to give you answers, you have them, and this book is going to help you by asking questions that maybe you’ve never asked yourself or give you tools that are going to help you figure out, oh my gosh, all this time, I thought I thrived in these conditions. 

But actually, I thrive in conditions like this. Or I always thought that my role as a people pleaser or a perfectionist. Or taskmaster, I thought, that is who I had to be. Because this is where I got all the accolades growing up, this is how people know me. 

But really, I’m not a taskmaster. I’m more of a go-with-the-flow person. So I just haven’t had the space, the permission, the authority because a lot of times, it’s just giving ourselves the authority to say, Uh, hey, wait a minute, I don’t like that. 

That’s not really who I am. And then to start living by our true interests and passions, stating our opinion and not backing down. So all of this is part of this journey to validate your knowledge because this world will tell you it thinks it knows what’s best for you, but it doesn’t.

SHERYL:  You talk a lot about honoring your feelings and listening to yourself. And so, through these exercises, there’s just such compassion. And I’m just struck because we can think, ah, I’m not this, I’m not that, but no, through the exercises, you just keep heaping this grace and love and honoring yourself, and whatever comes up, we need that.

We need that as we work through the exercises you share in the book. So yeah, yeah, super helpful. One more question. You talked about toxic positivity. And I think there’s a real distinction between mindfulness, gratitude, and toxic positivity. And so, can you share the difference?

RACHEL:  Yeah. Some uncomfortable feelings would come up for me for a long time. I was conditioned to say things like, well, other people have it worse than you, or you should be grateful. So I’m just kind of dismissing those feelings. And what I realize is, no, these feelings are valid. 

These feelings have value. And I need to listen to them. Because when you push down these feelings that keep coming up like I’m feeling really sad about this fall out with my friend, and you’re over part of us conditioned to say, well, that’s silly. 

You shouldn’t let this get to you. You should just be grateful that you have a friend. But the more you dismiss those feelings and tell yourself to accept them, you’re devaluing and disrespecting yourself. 

And so what I try to help people, as you mentioned, is a lot of compassion and grace. And just to be able to say my feelings are important. And they’re valuable because they’re telling me something. And for the longest time, I didn’t know why am I getting so angry at people who asked things from me that felt like, What made them think they could ask me for these things? 

I would get so angry. And I was like, why are you getting so upset? This has nothing to get upset over. But when I realize these are boundaries, people are disrespecting my boundaries. People are crossing boundaries. They’re putting themselves in a role in my life that I did not invite them to. 

And so, in that situation, anger is a service. Anger is protecting me. And so we truly are the only people who can protect ourselves. No one’s going to do that for us. 

So listening to those feelings and saying, Yeah, I’m really, I’m really upset that this person is asking this of me because it feels like my boundaries are not being respected, and they’re not. 

And so what am I going to do about this? Because I am not a doormat. I’m not going to let this person keep walking all over me. That’s just an example of toxic positivity and how it worked for me in the social journey.

SHERYL:  Yeah, I love that you mentioned that because it’s something that I have become more aware of that. I get mad and want to blame people if they ask something from me, but I don’t like saying no. After all, I’m a people pleaser.

 And then I feel like I have to say yes, but I’m mad at the person they’re asking. So it’s like, this is good information because it’s just a sign that I feel like I have to say yes, but I don’t. I have a choice.

You have a choice. So I just love it. Rachel, I love this book. And when you think about what you want moms to get from this book, what is your hope for this book?

RACHEL:  So I just want to say it’s not too late. It’s not too late. To find that little dreamer inside you, I believe we all have that part of ourselves. That was our most joyful, authentic, uninhibited self. 

I call mine my dream or girl. And once we start getting back in touch with that joyful, uninhibited part of ourselves, that part of ourselves can give us good guidance as adults. 

I like to say the person who held my hand while writing this book was my eight-year-old self. And she’s been trying to tell me for decades that what I knew at eight years old is worth knowing as an adult because so many of the things that I needed to thrive, and to grow and to feel happy, and to feel at peace, are things that my eight-year-old self knows and remembers, and that one of my favorite parts of the book is helping people remember that part of themselves. 

And once we feel that joy, it’s amazing how that can ripple out to the people around us. And then we can. When we show up as authentic, we permit our kids to be them. We’re giving our friends the conversation I had with my friend. And then, when you feel that true belonging, it’s a game changer.

SHERYL:  Yeah. When you awaken your dream girl and embrace her. Is the one thing your dream girl is doing now that you have closed her off? You said she was writing the book with you. Is there anything else? I’m sure there are a lot of things.

RACHEL:  Well, it’s funny because I’ve been doing more traveling in the car by myself rather than traveling on a plane to go to speaking events and things, and I am very directionally challenged. But I have liked the release and the fact that it is okay if I get lost, and I’ve noticed that. 

So true story, I was going in the opposite direction I should have been going as I was leaving South Carolina. I started heading for Florida. And my husband saw me on Life 360. Like, Rachel, you are an hour out of your way. You need to go north. 

I was like, Oops, I had my music going, I was singing, and, then I realized, I’m going to stop. And I’m just going to enjoy this little rest Park area. And now, as I was lying in the grass at the rest Park an hour out of my way, I realized this was fun. 

This is what I like. I like this adventure. I like that I’m not berating myself because I got lost. I’m not mad because I showed up in a place I was not supposed to be. And that’s my dreamer girl talking to me. 

Because I would have been very angry at myself five years ago, ten years ago, I would have said, You’re, you are so dumb. How could you drive an hour out of your way, and you better get in the car, and you better drive 80 miles an hour, and you better not stop? You’ve got to get home. 

It’s like this productivity-driven person just was always in control. And I never heard from my heart that I’d like to stop at that rest stop. Look, they have cold drinks. There’s a river. There are birds and things that I can notice. Like, I’ll never be here again. 

So being able to hear that part of myself. It talks about a stress reliever to be able to say to yourself; it’s okay that you got lost and went the wrong way. And it’s okay that you’re directionally challenged because you’re not lost. You just see new things. That’s all.

SHERYL:  Wow. And you just got to be with yourself and have that joy. It opens it up to that joy. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your journey with us and taking us by the hand so we can join you on this journey and have healing and experience more joy. 

And that dream girl that’s inside of us. It’s just dying to get out and break free. So tell our listeners where to find you, what you’re up to how they can connect with you.

RACHEL:  Yes, so my website is https://www.handsfreemama.com/. And if you go there, you can find all my social media handles. I’m active on Facebook and Instagram @TheHandsFreeRevolution. 

And also, if you preorder Soul Shift, which there’s a link to purchase, on my website, there is an amazing preorder bonus gift that I created. It’s a self-compassion starter kit. And I think that people are going to enjoy it not just for themselves, but maybe even to listen to their teenagers because my teenager, my 16-year-old, and I have a lot of the things that we do with our self-talk, as I was talking about shifting those limiting beliefs to self-compassionate beliefs. 

So that’s what that whole self-compassion starter kit is. And that’s free if you preorder Soul Shift from wherever you like to buy books. So that’s all that can be found on my website.

SHERYL:  Oh, that makes it so worth it because we have to reprogram our brains and self-talk. So you can help us with that. Thank you.

RACHEL:  It’s my pleasure. Yeah, I’m working on it every day. So it helps me, too, so I made that little bonus gift. And my publisher was like, “you don’t have to go to all this work. You can just pull something from the book.” And I was like, No, I am making this because I need it too.

SHERYL:  Well, thank you. Thank you for that. It’s good for our listeners to know it’s available when they get your book. And we can all be on this journey together. 

RACHEL:  That’s the only way we got to do it together. Life is not meant to be navigated alone. That’s what I believe.

SHERYL:  Yeah, me too. Thanks again, Rachel, for coming on The Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. It’s been so great to have you and talk with you.

RACHEL:  I enjoyed myself too. Thank you.

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