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Rise Up Beautiful has been born from the desire to share my story and help others to rise up from the ashes into their beauty! 

I'm so glad you are here.



No Longer an Escape

Lori Gajarsky

As I am preparing for travel, I find I have complete peace. This yearly trip to the ocean was the first time I was packing my bags and not escaping from my life.

Have you been there? The stress and pressures of life are so unbearable you need the escape of routine and a place of peace and break and mindless, non-decision making environment. I want to recognize that I am not over analyzing everything, I am simply more aware and asking, "How does this feel?"  And ya know what??  This feels darn good!  Vacation feels like exploration and relaxation, not "I need to escape from this hell ride"!

My son, when he was younger, in his sweet voice would say "I want to go home"  and he would ask frequently and I would ask, where is home? "Florida", he always responded with Florida.  

On some level, we both knew Florida was an escape from the tensions of living with a toxic person. On vacation, we found relief, he would back off on some level but there was always some sort of drama on vacation where there would never be a real family connection.  Looking back now, how profound that this 5-year-old could sense the difference and ask for relief to "go home".

We've experienced 4 vacations in the same location since and this one was different. There was an undeniable peace and it was about time together, discovery and fun in a place we love. This wasn't about an "escape" from the toxic person, life or the circumstances we were living through. 

It's interesting that when you're in it, you can't see it. I had no idea I was escaping and it also was a bit confusing because I was trying to escape the circumstances of the crazy-making with the person creating the crazy making. On one level it was a relief from everyday crazy-making, but on vacation, there was a new and different crazy-making and it always brought a sabotage of having a good time or a new drama.

When it lifts, you finally realize what you have been living with. When you grow and work towards finding the joy, gratitude and living in peace (even in the circumstances) there is a whole new perspective of the actions and choices we make.

Where did this thought come from and the transition?   This was not an overnight realization, over the past, almost four years, I have been working diligently at being more aware and healing from my circumstances. I have been working on my thinking, healing it and healing my hurt heart. In all of it, I am more aware of all going on around me and I am recognizing my passions, my desires and blooming into the best version of me.

Life is good and travel is a choice now and it brings a level of enjoyment I haven't experienced in a long time. Travel is now a place to explore, reflect, take in the new scenery and be in a creative place. Being out of my daily environment and enjoying a new place is an inspiration and no longer an escape.

This journey of growing and rising up from my circumstances has made me more aware, more appreciative, more open and excited about life and travel. 

Where to next?!

Rise Up, my beautiful friend




Lori Gajarsky

There so much to share and as I go through this journey, I have discovered over and over, people truly don't understand the impact of living/dealing with a narcissist for 15 years. There's a part of me, in my processing, I want people to understand, to really grasp the level of abuse, "get over it", "move on", "don't look back", "don't focus on it" are common responses, so what I have come to learn is most don't understand the level of abuse, the flashbacks, the heaviness, the negative thought patterns, the PTSD, etc. Heck, I didn't even understand it as I was going through it and I am still processing and learning how to heal.

The journey is a continuous one to heal from the experience or circumstance.  We live in a fallen world and there will be pain and circumstances.  Mine crept into my life and for others, the circumstance happened in a shift so blatantly clear as day. You may be able to mark the exact day and time of your circumstance or maybe you just remember how you were before a circumstance because it has been slowly eating away at you for years and have no exactly pinpoint of a day.  Point is, things happen and how we respond to them is different for everyone and a journey.

As we go through the journey of healing, there's the "circumstance" and may say "before ________" but if we don't have that exact moment you may remember the vibrant, incredible bubbly person you were ready to tackle this is my story.

I'm a very visual and when I saw this photo, I cried, it captures the essence of my experience and where I was emotionally, physically and spiritually when faced with a 20 month exhausting, abusive divorce. There I  was lying in my ashes not realizing the depth of the journey ahead of me nor the understanding of what happened to me over the past 13 years. The GIFT,  as I choose to see it, I am rising into beauty and will have joy for mourning, I am choosing not to be a victim.


Photo Credit:  The ANSatomy of Narcissm

Photo Credit:  The ANSatomy of Narcissm

Over the years, it's been 3 and a half now, I have made leaps and bounds and I want to encourage you as you heal to have grace on yourself. 

I see myself now as almost all of these holes being filled and having more peace and joy in my life. I have put things in my mind as linear in my healing, I'm not sure if it is right or wrong, but I find I can't handle one area of healing because I submerge my whole self into healing one thing at a time, stages that build on one another.

If you knew me prior to my ashes, I was an avid daily runner participating in mini-triathlons. As I write this, I am feeling the tears and emotions rise. I miss that person, full of life, physically and emotionally fit and how the two are so related. I have carried the guilt and shame around not working out and moving my body is very overwhelming for me and I have carried it for over ten years now.  

It was said to me, "You know how to get rid of that guilt and shame, start working out" Whoa!!  That made me feel two things, more shame and F you! That would be the spunky Jersey girl rearing it's "don't tell me what to do" head and a complete lack of understanding that is not that easy and this is where the GRACE comes in.  This is where you have to live your own journey in your own timeline. This person truly does not understanding the physical level of exhaustion, the drained adrenals and how a simple workout is what crashes me. As I left this conversation and started to think about it brought me to my word of the year, "RESTORATION" 

All of the work I have done is leading me to restoration, it is my time. I know it is my time, I have more mental clarity, I understand my circumstances, God has put me in the perfect position to take my life to the next level which includes my physical health and moving my body.

Movement is part of the restoration this year, my body will be healed of all that is going on and I will have restoration in this area because I believe and I am in a place to work towards and do my part even if theyare small accomplishments. 

I will have grace on myself and move slowly into adding this back into my life. I know it will help me in all areas, not just physically. I want to be in that place of resting after a good run and feel amazing in the action, the results and the peace of mind it gives me. 

It will take time and I will remember to have grace on myself as I move towards restoration. 



Ripple Effect

Lori Gajarsky

Hello, Beautiful!

This was originally written in August of 2017 shortly after a visit to Virginia.........

I packed my paddleboard knowing I would want to spend mornings out on the lake in prayer and taking in the energy of nature.

Being around water fills me, brings me peace and on this particular day, there wasn't a soul on the lake.  All I could hear were the birds singing songs to one another. Can you picture it? The still air, calm water, and just the birds singing. Simple peace!

After about 45 minutes of paddling, I saw a boat far across the lake, in time the ripples made their way to me. I paused and took in the vastness of the ripples across the lake, there was nothing stopping them or interrupting them and they kept coming, small and then larger, rocking the paddle board. 

It had me thinking of how we ripple across the paths of those we touch, family, friends, co-workers, connection, business connection, our children, partners and on and on. We ripple out and others ripple towards us. You never know what someone is going through and your ripple matters, the ripples you receive may be exactly what you needed at that moment. 

In the midst of my hell, I had to receive the kind ripples of others, I am a giver and to receive was so difficult.  Are you struggling with a tough situation in your life? Are you turning in?  If so, is it to just grasp the magnitude of the situation or is it to hide? 

When the pain is too deep, too confusing, so exhausting where do you turn?  Do you need to reach out for help?  Do you even know where to turn? Do you just need a hug or someone to talk to?  I encourage you to reach out to others for love and support and maybe a piece of hope to help you take a small step in recovery and back to joy. 

Keep your eyes and ears open and keep moving those feet forward. Take the step, I promise, you'll find what you need.

Rise Up into your beauty my sweet friend.



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Get Up, Dress Up & Show Up

Lori Gajarsky

Hello, Beautiful!

Some days it takes courage and every ounce of energy to get up, dress up and show up. Dig deep into the memories of when you were on top of life.  This will be the only time you'll hear me encourage to go back but sometimes we have to go back to where we were before the world came crashing down on us to lift us up to remember how courageous we were and still are.  That beautiful, amazing women is in there, she's ready to rise up into her calling, her purpose.  

Take a little step forward today, put a bright lipstick on, wear a sassy dress and twirl.

If I can share anything, my circumstances were the catalyst to level up. Crazy right, who wants to go through a living hell to level up? If I didn't, I wouldn't be where I am today. It took lots of courage, self reflection work, getting on my knees, tears and prayers. Whatever your circumstances are set your sites on leveling up, taking your life to the next place, a place of peace or joy. It's a process, it takes time to heal, stretch and grow. Allow the process to unfold in it's time.

Be open to growth and reflection, ask, what am I to learn from all of this? How can I grow from this circumstance?

Just ask the question and release it, the answers will come and you my friend WILL rise up from the ashes.


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Share Your Story

Lori Gajarsky

Hello, Beautiful!

When you keep hearing the same message over and over, you have to stop and listen, pull up your big girl panties and take a step of faith and see what the future holds.

The message "tell your story" as been showing up for over a year now, from the pastor in the Catholic Church, in the IKEA catalog, in a book I am reading, from a friend.  I could go on, point is, it's been three years of healing and I know I have more to go, and my hearts desire is to help others.

This is beyond scary for me and brings me to such a place of vulnerability, it's pushing me so far out of my comfort zone, but when you keep getting the message, I have to listen because someone needs to hear my story!  

Why would God be asking me to share my story in a blog?? I am not a writer. Let me say that again I. AM. NOT. A. WRITER. Isn't it so like God to ask us to do something that will give HIM all of the glory. I've recently read, "God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called" I'm going to take the steps of faith and share what is put on my heart. I'll write and let HIM do the heavy lifting.  

Why am I not a writer, why do I cringe, feel tight and almost a little defensive in speaking or thinking about writing? It's simple, I don't get grammar, it doesn't stick in my brain and I'll do my best to make it as pretty as possible for those whom (is it who or whom? haha, see?!)  Maybe it's the flash back to receiving my first college paper back with so much red ink on it, I felt dizzy from my lack of understanding and getting all the way through school with bad grammar.  Oh and yes, that time in the airport I overheard this statement sitting next to someone "If the grammar is bad, I just don't read it"  Ok, you're not my reader and if you are willing to suffer through it, graciously take what you want and leave the rest.

And there my beautiful friends, is a piece of my vulnerability, I am showing up at the risk of someone not liking my grammar, sentence structure, thought structure, etc, silly right? nope, something I have always struggled with and hopefully it's not all that bad. 

Ultimately, I hope to inspire those going through a difficult time to know there is hope in the future. In my story,  my wish and prayer is you'll find the courage to keep moving forward, to look your best when you feel your worst, to show up in any small way, dig deep to find that lost spark so it may help you RISE UP from the ashes into your beauty. 

I'm not sure how my story will unfold, all I know is when there is a story on my heart to share, I will.

RISE UP into your beauty my sweet friend.

P.S. The original date of the post is August 6, today is December 12, it's taking this long to take a deep breath to post this........



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