Monthly Archives: May 2009

True North: Finding your Inner Compass

This weekend I had an opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings with a group of like-minded people, and I suddenly came up with the phrase, “Now that the crisis has past, I feel as though I’m walking around without a compass.”

For many of us, whether it’s a moving out of a crisis or a behavior or a habit, when we are suddenly without the familiar, we feel lost – aimlessly wandering, searching for direction.  Often times, it creates a pandemic of procrastination, or worse: a reversion to old belief systems and habits.  But it doesn’t have to.  It’s precisely at these times that the Universe opens up to us and allows the opportunity to create something new.

So – how do we go about redirecting ourselves, finding our Inner Compass, and putting our feet solidly on the path to wellness and peace?  Well, it goes without saying that our old compass is broken, and to use it as a guide or a reference point would not be helpful.  The most important step here is to simply recognize, acknowledge and accept that first piece of the puzzle – our old compass is broken.

What is the old compass?  Is it habits? Beliefs? Behaviors? Feelings? Decisions?  It’s all of the above.  Our old compass, the one that helped us lose our way, is comprised of negative thought patterns and belief systems that have guided our decisions thus far.  We didn’t know they were negative – though sometimes we did – we just knew we were doing our best, and using our best knowledge and guidance at the time.  But what happens when the compass itself is broken?  When the arrow says it’s pointing North, but in fact can’t be relied upon to point in any specific direction at any time?  Well, hopefully at some point, we end up sitting down on a rock somewhere, looking around, and asking the question, “How did I get here?” 

For some of us, it’s “How did I get 40 pounds heavier than the last time I weighed myself?” For others, it’s “How did I go from drinking on the weekends, to needing to drink everyday?”  Those are concrete measurable examples.  For others still, it’s “How did I manage to get myself into this situation, that isn’t necessarily bad or wrong – but FEELS bad and wrong, even though nothing has changed to make it so?”  That’s a tough one.  They’re all difficult – but the blessing is that when you find yourself sitting on that rock, realizing that you’re not where you want to be (or thought you were), you have an opportunity.  You have the opportunity to change your situation – to go where you want to be, to be who you want to be, and to get there using the one thing that is never broken: your Inner Compass.

When we’ve become accustomed to using the outer compass provided to us by all of our thought patterns and belief systems, we slowly un-learn what it is to trust ourselves, and that which we know to be true.  We handicap ourselves, in a way.  We learn to rely on external stimuli, and tune out our internal guides.  It’s alright – we’ve all been there.  Some of us are still there, even after we have found our Inner Compass.  What we discover is that not only do we have to find our Inner Compass, but then we have to use it and re-apply it to all of the situations in our life, whether big or small, and that takes time.

So – how do we find our Inner Compass?  Well, we pause.  We sit in silence, and we ask for help as we begin to put down the pieces of the old compass.  Once we’ve freed up our hands and our minds to grab hold of that which we know to be pure and true, it starts working – and then it works exponentially.  It builds on itself, and we can’t help but follow where it leads.  With every right step, on our true path, we reinforce the wisdom and knowledge and belief in our True North.  We recognize that True North is different for everyone, because although it is one journey – there are always many paths.  And once we start to shed the beliefs and thought patterns that have led us astray, we find that we have created space in our lives to see more clearly our own true path.

True North is the space in which you will feel complete, whole and at peace.  Your Inner Compass will always guide you there, if you let it.  For now, it’s enough to recognize where you are and look around you.  It’s time to see what compass you have been using up until this point, and to pause long enough to put it down.  Only then will you have the space needed to find your Inner Compass.  Only then will you begin to discover your own guidance system, and be able to follow it.

In love and light,

Martina

What is love?…

Is love the absence of fear?  Is love the presence of understanding and compassion?  Is love quantifiable?  Is love the smallest flower petal in the universe, or is it possibly the universe itself?

I venture to say that love is everything – anything.  This past weekend, I witnessed love, at my best friend’s wedding.  It was right in front of me, staring me in the face – like a space of sunshine on a cloudy day.  Love was in the eyes of the groom as he looked, miraculously, at his bride.  Love was in the faces of the friends and family in attendance, as they witnessed the blessings and celebration of marriage.  Love was in the poems, readings and music that was shared throughout the ceremony.  And love most definitely was on the dance floor, surrounded by laughter, smiles and hugs…not to mention some really great dance moves!

But love was also evident in the flowers and bouquets – both in the care and time it took to create them, by the florist – but also in the time and care it took to create them by the universe.  Love was flowing in the water we drank, and the wine we shared.  Love was in the grass as we took pictures, and in the cool misty breeze of the afternoon.  There was even love in the nourishing food we ate and enjoyed throughout the weekend’s festivities.  It was, without doubt, a weekend full of love.

But that was to be expected.  Wasn’t it?  Have you ever been to a wedding where love wasn’t flowing, full force?  I have.  It’s a different feeling.  There’s still love, but it’s missing something.  So….I venture out on a limb and now say this weekend’s experience was love – in its purest form.  Untainted by anything false or constructed..unfettered by ego.  It was love,but it was combined with gratitude and blessings.  This is the greatest love there is.  Love, without conditions, without qualifiers, without concerns.  But love filled with gratitude for everyone and everything around you.  It’s palpable.  When set in an environment of blessings, it can’t help but touch everyone present.

So, what is love?  Is it the absence of these concerns or conditions?  These difficult emotions, such as fear or wanting?  Or is it possible that love is defined not by the absence of something, but rather by the inclusion of gratitude and the blessings that creates?  Think about it.  When you say “I love you,” what are you really saying?  For years, I hesitated when my family said “I love you,” to me – I wasn’t sure why, I just did.  I’ve come to realize that, for me, it’s a phrase that means so much more than the three words imply.  When I say, “I love you,” I am saying that I am grateful for you, and that I am blessed by you.  This is a much deeper feeling than the word “love” can describe, and yet we don’t have another word for it.  So, what do I say?  I say nothing, or I say, “I love you, too.”

For me, it’s one of the most complicated emotions, and yet also the simplest.  Love is everywhere, in everything, accessible to anyone.  And yet, it is impossible to measure, define or quantify – because everybody experiences it differently.  We all know when we are in the presence of love, but we would probably all relate a different account of that experience.  Love, is therefore, subjective, malleable, and ever-changing.  So…what is love?  What is it for you?  Aren’t we all just looking for love?  Whether it’s love of ourselves or love from others?  So, how can we define it?  Should we even try?

I think love is the most precious gift one person can receive or experience, and I also think that love can never be contained, packaged or prescribed, because it is the most personal of emotions – and the most universal, all at once.  Sometimes, it’s just enough to know it exists, and when we witness it, to revel in it, accepting the many gifts it has to offer.  It may not be “all we need” – but without it, life wouldn’t be worth imagining.  And if that’s true….then I guess the answer to the question is: Love is Life.

In love and light,

Martina

Progress, not Perfection

This week, I heard a phrase that has been used for many years within the self-help/therapy/recovery world: “Progress, not Perfection.”  For some reason, even though I’m sure I’ve heard it before, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time, with new ears, and a new understanding of its meaning…..Progress, not Perfection, indeed.

I have certainly been guilty of expecting perfection. In some things, there’s just no gray area for me – until now.  If someone says they’ve quit smoking, for example, and they light up again – then they haven’t quit.  There’s no gray area.  So, to me it would seem that they are not holding up to the expectation of perfection that they or others have set for themselves.  By definition, there would be no other expectation, especially if they’ve made a promise to quit to someone else.  But here’s the thing….nothing is truly perfect.  No behavior, statement, action, decision, etc. can ever be 100% perfect.  And if something is perfect – then it’s usually perfect only for the person who is viewing it that way.  Why?  Because Perfection is entirely subjective. 

So, if the smoker, who wants to quit (and says they have) lights up again – it isn’t perfect.  But if that same smoker used to smoke a pack a day, and now only smokes a pack every two or three weeks – then it’s progress.  Progress, and practice, ultimately leads to individual perfection.  What do I mean by that?

Progress, and the steady commitment to progress, is, in itself, the definition of perfection.  Among other things, “Perfection” is defined as “the state or quality of being or becoming perfect.”  At the end of the day, perfection isn’t the ultimate goal; it can’t be.  If it were, everything thereafter wouldn’t be able to exist.  It’s more of a process by which we learn, grow, experience, and share ourselves with others, in order to (hopefully) offer them the same opportunities for peace, wellness and serenity.

It’s this process and the progress we make that allows us to ultimately say, “this is perfect, for me,” because we’re never truly out of our own perfect place.  We’re always where we’re meant to be, for what we need to learn and experience; and that, in itself, is perfect.

So….when we hold ourselves to an expectation of Perfection – we are destined to never achieve it.  But when we hold ourselves to the expectation of Progress, we are, in fact, perfect.

In love and light,

Martina

Progress, not Perfection

This week, I heard a phrase that has been used for many years within the self-help/therapy/recovery world: “Progress, not Perfection.”  For some reason, even though I’m sure I’ve heard it before, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time, with new ears, and a new understanding of its meaning…..Progress, not Perfection, indeed.

I have certainly been guilty of expecting perfection. In some things, there’s just no gray area for me – until now.  If someone says they’ve quit smoking, for example, and they light up again – then they haven’t quit.  There’s no gray area.  So, to me it would seem that they are not holding up to the expectation of perfection that they or others have set for themselves.  By definition, there would be no other expectation, especially if they’ve made a promise to quit to someone else.  But here’s the thing….nothing is truly perfect.  No behavior, statement, action, decision, etc. can ever be 100% perfect.  And if something is perfect – then it’s usually perfect only for the person who is viewing it that way.  Why?  Because Perfection is entirely subjective. 

So, if the smoker, who wants to quit (and says they have) lights up again – it isn’t perfect.  But if that same smoker used to smoke a pack a day, and now only smokes a pack every two or three weeks – then it’s progress.  Progress, and practice, ultimately leads to individual perfection.  What do I mean by that?

Progress, and the steady commitment to progress, is, in itself, the definition of perfection.  Among other things, “Perfection” is defined as “the state or quality of being or becoming perfect.”  At the end of the day, perfection isn’t the ultimate goal; it can’t be.  If it were, everything thereafter wouldn’t be able to exist.  It’s more of a process by which we learn, grow, experience, and share ourselves with others, in order to (hopefully) offer them the same opportunities for peace, wellness and serenity.

It’s this process and the progress we make that allows us to ultimately say, “this is perfect, for me,” because we’re never truly out of our own perfect place.  We’re always where we’re meant to be, for what we need to learn and experience; and that, in itself, is perfect.

 

So….when we hold ourselves to an expectation of Perfection – we are destined to never achieve it.  But when we hold ourselves to the expectation of Progress, we are, in fact, perfect.

 

In love and light,