Whole: How I Learned To Fill The Fragments Of My Life With Forgiveness, Hope, Strength, And Creativity by Melissa MooreWhole: How I Learned To Fill The Fragments Of My Life With Forgiveness, Hope, Strength, And Creativity by Melissa Moore

Whole: How I Learned To Fill The Fragments Of My Life With Forgiveness, Hope, Strength, And…

byMelissa Moore

Hardcover | November 15, 2017

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A five-point plan to usher you through heartache and toward a stronger, healthier place.

“I know how to kill someone and get away with it.” The words spoken by her father when Melissa was a teen haunt her to this day. Two years later, after confessing that he was the serial killer nationally known as the Happy Face Killer, Keith Jesperson was arrested for the murder of eight women. The pain, guilt, and shame that followed her father’s conviction stigmatized Melissa for years until she figured out a way to use her emotions as fuel to free herself from self-imposed limits and set out on a journey to rebuild her fragmented life.

Through her work as an Emmy-nominated investigative journalist, television host, educator, and advocate, Melissa created WHOLE, a five-step program to better develop her own approach to healing: Watch the Storm, Heal Your Heart, Open Your Mind, Leverage Your Power, and Elevate Your Spirit.

Among other things, she found that the commitment to your core values makes all the difference in getting unstuck; that forgiveness gives the greatest chance of making a future not defined by the past; that there is great value in vulnerability; that creativity is essential to living a full life; and that hope is the basis for everything we feel, believe, and do.

In each phase of the program, Melissa inspires you to embrace your past to find wholeness within the parts of your life that you believe to be “broken.” If you are stuck in the rut of a painful experience—whether depression, trauma, pain, fear, addiction, or guilt—you will find comfort in this book’s advice, self-evaluation, and action plans.

WHOLE is a powerful journey of recovery and awakening that reframes the pain experience so it can be used as a way to invite understanding, growth, and transformation into your life.
MELISSA MOORE is an Emmy-nominated television investigative journalist with Warner Brothers’ Crime Watch Daily and the host of LMN’s Monster in My Family. She is an internationally recognized expert and speaker on the topics of trauma recovery, domestic violence, and serial crimes. She is the author of her memoir, Shattered Silence. MI...
Title:Whole: How I Learned To Fill The Fragments Of My Life With Forgiveness, Hope, Strength, And…Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.33 × 6.29 × 0.94 inPublished:November 15, 2017Publisher:RODALE BOOKSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1623367441

ISBN - 13:9781623367442

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Read from the Book

Watch the StormTHE WISDOM OF INACTIONYou are the sky. Everything else--it's just the weather.--Pema ChödrönWhat's Inside:Preparation and ContemplationThe Consequences of NonacceptanceTrauma: It's a Family AffairThe "Natural" in Doing NothingClarity: The Result of Doing NothingYour Storm Gives You Special StatusA Mind-Set of AcceptanceAssessing the Conditions of the StormEmotions as Our GuidepostsYou Are Here: A Course in MindfulnessYou Are Not the "I" of the StormBuilding Strength by Finding the HowIn the movie Deep Impact, a comet hits the earth, causing a tsunami that devastates North America. It's pandemonium. A father and daughter, resigned to the fact that they will not make it to safety within the mountains, head to their most cherished place, the ocean. In a harsh reconciliation with mortality, the young woman buries her head in her father's collar. "Daddy," she cries. She is afraid, yet she looks up, watching the storm. Her father, ever so contemplative and protective of her until the end, closes his eyes and cradles her in his arms.Cut to the next scene where others are succumbing to their better-known primal instincts, running and screaming in panic from the inescapable. Amid the chaos in the streets, a middle-aged couple ceases their escape attempt and acts on their last purposeful urge. They spend their final few moments gazing into each other's eyes, giving themselves the gift of an indelible image of strength and love.Did the people running away from the inevitable somehow lose out on the preciousness of their few remaining moments? Was there something to be gained in the midst of their loss? Is it better to go down fighting than to go down possessing the moment in which you are taken? Now, I'm no philosopher, and I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't persevere over life's greatest obstacles, or at least try, but consider the wisdom in these characters' inaction. In the moments of taking their last breaths, the married couple, as well as the father and daughter, represented to me the importance of paying attention to the moment, to themselves, and to each other. They watched the storm. Of course, their fate was sealed by a natural disaster, and it's likely the storm you find yourself in won't have such a dire outcome. Nevertheless, there is great clarity and acceptance in the pause they take from fighting the conditions around them, and that's what I'm talking about here.To do nothing, especially when something horrifying has happened, is probably the most difficult thing we could ever do, yet in many circumstances it can be our wisest choice. It's a place of acceptance and acknowledgment of all the turmoil before you forge ahead. If you don't take some time to assess what is going on, you can wind up like me and the millions of others who go in search of self-soothing only to adopt destructive coping mechanisms. My shame and avoidance manifested in an eating disorder, chronic depression, social anxiety, and panic attacks.Why is the decision to wait to act--not firing off the angry e-mail, not begging the bank for a reprieve, not fixing our child's mistake, or not crying to the boyfriend to come back--so damn hard? Because in the face of extreme stress, there is fear, and fear signals our brain that there is danger. Doing nothing goes against our primal survival instincts and impulses to avoid said danger. If we win the inner war and stay "in the moment," our hormone-infused fight-or-flight responses take a backseat to sitting still as a stick, making us a blaring target for the impact. Some might call this passiveness, weakness, clamming up, or copping out even, but on second thought, is there anything braver than staring down something despite the certainty that it is about to wash you away?Watching the storm is the early time in a pain experience when, instead of going into reaction or panic mode, you wait, pausing so that you can conserve what you will likely need later in the healing process: things like acceptance, clarity, and intention, which can sweep away self-doubt, denial, blame, guilt, and shame. It's an important time because if taken, it's a time of deep reflection, of permission to experience emotions, and of an objective assessment of the conditions of the storm. Taking a pause will not cause you to forfeit the facts; those will be the same regardless if you are frantic or not. But I have found in my own experiences, large and small, that stopping to validate the pain by calling it what it is--"a storm"--helps me to calm down and create conditions for clarity. Power comes to you when you identify the bad and consciously separate yourself from it. This is not you, Melissa; it's another storm coming.When you are in a peaceful or calmer state, you will be able to access more resources and more facts that help crystallize a clear, motivated, purposeful response. Only then can we move forward with more intention than we would have if we didn't watch the storm.Preparation and ContemplationSometimes we express ourselves most eloquently by not expressing anything-- by allowing our presence, unexplained and unembellished, to speak for itself.--Amy Cuddy, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest ChallengesMy life has been enriched by meeting people whose circumstances are nothing short of devastating and watching them persevere. I have seen how watching the storm acted as a critical time of preparation and contemplation responsible for their overcoming the aftermath of their storms. Unfortunately, I've also experienced firsthand how not waiting equated to nonacceptance, causing a cornucopia of issues--from addiction to clinical depression to suicide.You are reading this book perhaps because you or someone you love is in pain and you want some perspective on what you can do. Something has gone wrong, nothing feels right--you're in the midst of your storm. What's my take on it? Pause.I know what you're thinking. You just bought a book in the attempt to make strides, to try to "do something" for yourself, only to hear someone with zero credentials (that would be me) encourage you not to act, not to do something! Hear me out. Usually when we act, and especially if we're under pressure, we do the first thing that comes to mind--and without thinking about it. Therein lies the problem. We are reacting without giving honest thought about how we want to handle something. Our emotions and actions are being controlled by others, our own ego, and the environment. Operating in this state ensures that our power is swept away.I have found there to be wisdom in inaction, in an accepting place I refer to as watching the storm. In holding your attention on the harsh elements and igniting your senses within the pain experience, you will see what I now see: You can't control the storm. Scary, yes. But it also can't control you. Deliberately watching the storm has the potential to stop us from taking things personally and interpreting other people's behaviors, opinions, or rejections as reflections of our self-worth. In the midst of a chaotic event, we can decide to give ourselves the gift of a pause, examine the situation, gain clarity, and choose better responses.Reaction or Response? What's the Difference?Reaction is a defense mechanism, while response is a support system. Here are a few ways to know whether you are in an adrenal reaction or in a conscious, purposeful response mode:REACTION = INSTINCTUALFeels physical, even when it's notDoesn't take very longUsually only one type at a timeFeels good in the moment, but often feels terrible when coming off the adrenaline highAn easy release usually on an outside targetThink about the last time you spoke rudely to someone or took out a frustration over a bill on an innocent operator at the other end of a call. You were angry long before the person on the other end admitted he couldn't help you.RESPONSE = CONSCIOUS CHOICETakes longerCan be multiple types at onceConsiders options and ramificationsDepends on higher intelligenceIs in line with personal goals, ethics, and personalityIs a choice based on your best interestsI've come up with a motto that I try to live by: "When the going gets tough, the tough stop and do nothing, until they are clear on how to proceed." Only when my thoughts feel stable and consistent am I confident that I can do stable and consistent things.The Consequences of NonacceptanceDoing nothing can be a very powerful action unto itself.--Don IgerWhen we are overwhelmed or confused, we forget to use the tools that we have that can allow us to process a new situation: acceptance, mindfulness, acknowledging emotion, embracing fear, and finally responding with intention and clarity. These are the conditions that create awareness. What happens when we do everything but that?"I had a little problem with acceptance," Nickie said, recalling the weeks and months after her husband of five years left. "I couldn't fathom an existence without him, and, worse, I couldn't accept that he really meant his decision. It was such a breach of trust. Not accepting that living his life without me was what he truly wanted made me act in ways that are not only regrettable but were detrimental."Nickie told me that she had incessantly called her ex until he changed his number. When she found out that he had a new girlfriend who was embraced by their mutual group of friends, she impassionedly e-mailed each and every friend, whom she had known for more than a decade, and "broke up with them." With her husband gone and her circle of friends in ashes, Nickie became depressed. Alcohol filled her weeknights, her career suffered, she stopped eating and started overexercising. She was scared and sad. Money was tight, and Nickie described being forced to move back into her childhood bedroom at her parents' house as the most humiliating experience of her life. This caused her self-worth to further plummet. "I became desperate, and I cringe at the actions that made me look like a lunatic," Nickie explained. "Not only did my ex have to have a threatening talk with me, but my parents and siblings had somewhat of an intervention. I couldn't get out of my own way."Nickie's storm was swirling around her, and instead of understanding that she had the option of assessing the conditions of the storm and responding appropriately, she tired herself out--mentally, emotionally, and physically- -by attempting the impossible. "Getting my husband back was as futile as using my own breath to blow away rain clouds," she said. "What is the point of that?"MY FIRST DIVE IN THE UNDERCURRENTSometimes the most difficult part of a situation isn't the struggle in the midst of it all, but the way in which it's dealt with afterward, as Nickie's "regrettable" behaviors illustrate. What's your next move? Where do you go? How do you move on? The world is spinning around you, and most likely, you either want to (a) crumble down into the fetal position and close your eyes until it all goes away or (b) run away as fast as you can without turning back. I know because when my first storm hit, I did the former, while my brother and sister ran off to the houses of random friends and hardly returned.My first storm came when my father's mug shot was plastered all over the evening news, a harrowing juxtaposition with the framed Sears portrait of me and my siblings that hung on the wall above our television set. Our posed smiles mocked me as my eyes darted from the wall to the screen as the newscaster casually spoke my father's new moniker: Happy Face Killer.My mother, instead of taking a mindful pause, banned all media from the house. This led me, a curious fifteen-year-old, to look for information about my father elsewhere and to assume I couldn't share with my mother the facts I uncovered and how I felt about them. Instead of my father's parents thinking before acting, their own shock and shame led them to completely cut themselves off from me and my siblings at a time when we needed each other most. If we all could have turned toward each other in our grief, and not run from it or deny what had just happened in an attempt to protect ourselves from feeling anything, I wonder how differently the rest of my teenage years would have played out.Trauma: It's a Family AffairAfter all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.--Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a GeishaOver the summer of 2015 a new name appeared on the front pages of most media news outlets--Dylann Roof. Accused of slaying nine black churchgoers in a racial hate crime in South Carolina, Dylann made headlines after his own sister, Amber Roof, recognized her brother's distinctive bowl haircut on TV and called the cops to tip them off. Police apprehended her brother in Shelby, North Carolina--just three miles from where Amber Roof's fiancé was living with his children.Beyond the shock of her brother's hate crimes and the grief for the victims who lost their lives, Amber was faced with a choice that no wedding planner has ever considered: What do you do when your brother shoots up a church just days before you walk down the aisle on the happiest day of your life?Of course, Amber and her fiancé called off the wedding and went into hiding. They were married weeks later in a secluded cabin, unable to salvage their original plans in their original venue. Amber and her fiancé have yet to surface. Solace and normalcy were stolen from her, her husband, and her stepfamily.Months passed since the capture of her brother, but Amber stayed on my mind. What if I could help both the victims' family members and her heal? What if I can help her explain her sorrow for her brother's crimes and their own loss while she comes face-to-face with the family members? What good can be made of this senseless bloodbath? If any.These curious thoughts stayed with me well into the fall, when I received an unexpected text message from Amber. She had read my message to her on Facebook and wanted to talk. "The real victims are the ones who lost their lives that day," Amber stated boldly. "I should not speak, as it may come off as if I am comparing my pain and loss to theirs." I disagreed. The nine people who were killed by her brother were indeed victims. But her pain was profound, and she was a victim too. I told her that her pain and their pain aren't on a scale to be judged, as we can't view our pain through a hierarchical lens. Denying your personal pain won't lessen other people's suffering. Denying your personal pain will only increase it.

Editorial Reviews

"Having healed from unimaginable trauma, Melissa Moore gifts the reader with a trove of illuminating stories, insight, and practical techniques to transform suffering into wisdom. Throughout, she articulates the deepest wisdom of all: when in doubt, life crisis or emotional storm, do not do. Be."—Gabor Maté M.D., author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction"Melissa Moore has created a guidebook for healing the heart packed with nuggets of practical wisdom.” —Mark Wolynn, author of It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle“Deeply authentic, WHOLE makes it clear that life's circumstances are less important than how we relate to them. Melissa Moore shares her own experience, and by doing so reveals the potential beauty that gets tapped when a human being turns fully toward her life. She offers many suggestions you can apply in your own life.” —Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness“There is a wealth of wisdom here for anyone, whether he or she is struggling with an unhappy childhood, struggling with his or her own addiction or that of loved ones, or just trying to cope with life issues. Put this at the top of your self-help reading list.”—Booklist