Monthly Archives: August 2009

Signs of Change

What do you think of when you think of “change?” Is it the leaves on the trees in Autumn? Or possibly a crop of purple, white and yellow crocuses reaching through a frost-covered lawn? Is it a shift in your thinking? Or a shift in your being and doing? What if signs of change are so subtle that they are barely audible or visible? What if signs of change aren’t perceptible as signs at all – until years later when we have the benefit of hindsight and wisdom?

Today I was driving down the road, and I saw a yellow tree. My immediate thought was, “Oh, little tree, you’ve jumped a bit too early.” My second thought was, “Wow – Fall is around the corner!” But what if the tree hasn’t jumped the gun? What if the tree is one of those pioneers of change. Sending us little signs of what’s to come, that we often miss until the vast majority have changed along with that first little tree?

It’s the same for people, isn’t it? There are those who are on the forefront of change, and those who bring up the rear. There are individuals who put themselves out there, day after day, seeking new paths, and new ways of being and doing – sometimes we look at them as “crazy” or “imbalanced.” Sometimes, we see their “signs” of what’s to come as utter foolishness and conjecture. And sometimes, just sometimes, we pause long enough to have a second thought – and we see them more clearly for what they are: harbingers of new possibility. I admit there are those pioneers (or false teachers) who have gone so far down the path that perhaps they have lost touch with reality. Perhaps they are just too far ahead of the rest of us for us to understand them. And that’s ok. We need those “scouts” to blaze some sort of path for us, even if it’s to show us where not to go.

But for the most part, when we read something or hear something that gives us a little stir inside and we react with fear, it usually turns out to be something different than what our first thoughts tell us. If we give it enough space and time, we can often get to the second thought, and allow a sliver of a message to come through. That’s when the magic happens. That’s when change starts dropping seeds in the cracks of our pavement, and allowing us to grow just a little with each breath.

Today, I see signs of change all around me. I see it in the way a parent talks to their child in a grocery store. I see it in choices friends are making with their futures and their health. I see it when I hear of a colleague who has decided to pursue her passion, regardless of the challenges that lay ahead. We even have a President who was elected on a platform of change. Whether he turns out to be a pioneer or a false teacher – we don’t know yet. The fact is that change is happening all around us. And it’s our choice whether we want to swim with the tide, float on top of it, or wait for the last few currents to carry us along.

For me, though it can be challenging, I choose to swim with the tide. By being more proactive, I certainly invite more challenges and obstacles in my path – but my hope is that I can help to navigate a clear waterway for those who will come after me. By learning to embrace change I feel better equipped to watch for its littlest signs. So, when I see my next yellow tree, hopefully I will see it for what it is: a messenger. Nothing more, nothing less. And once we are able to recognize the littlest signs, we might be better able to forge a way forward to greater peace, wellness and joy.

This week is all about noticing the little things – the smallest changes that have big impacts on our lives and our decisions. How can we embrace them to move forward into more meaningful relationships with others and ourselves?

THree Things

Body – Have you made any changes to your routines? Could you? How about riding a bike to work? Or perhaps swapping out regular coffee for decaf?

Mind – What would it take to change your mind about something specific, like how you feel about a family member or friend who has hurt you? What do you stand to gain by looking at it a different way? And what do you stand to lose by not making a change?

Spirit – The greatest changes happen within at such a subtle level that they are almost imperceptible. What can you do to nourish your spirit as you grow into who you are? Is there a CD or song that you’ve heard in a coffee shop that stirs something inside of you? What if you found out who or what it was, and offered it to your spirit as a gift? What would your spirit say in return for being acknowledged and honored?

In love and light,

Martina

Faith and Trust

What would you do – if you could do anything? Last week I went to a workshop/retreat in Hawaii, and in addition to learning incredibly wonderful healing methods, I also met amazing people. Two, in particular, filled me with envy and awe. Both had recently decided to go in search of new lives for themselves, and the workshop/retreat was the first step on an unknown path that they knew they had to follow.

Neither one has a “home” in the traditional sense. Their home is, quite literally, planet earth. Both, of course, have family and friends who will always welcome them into their lives, and both left loved ones behind in search of their passion in life. Is this selfish? Or is this the ultimate act of self-love? And is there a difference?

I found myself envious of their ability to simply pack up, store away, and head 4,000 miles across the world in search of a new way of living. I was in awe of the courage, strength and determination it took to make such a leap. A leap of faith knowing that that it was the “right” thing for them to do. A leap of faith knowing that this was part of their path, and a leap of faith in trusting that inner voice that said, “just go.” How much faith does it take to make such a leap – and can we actually take that leap without the extreme of relinquishing our current life, as we know it? I don’t know – but it’s a question I am asking myself daily, since I returned home.

My struggle right now is in trusting — trusting the Universe that I am on the right path, and that I will always have everything I need in order to succeed, be well, be healthy, and serve others. It’s a leap of faith. It doesn’t require my selling my home, storing my belongings and leaving my family behind – but it is equally as great in scope. It’s a leap that I know, once taken, will bring me so much peace, happiness and joy – but it’s still a leap, and it’s not easy. My friends in Hawaii are well on their way, trusting as they go along – working with the moment, and whatever crops up. It is a model I am eager to follow, in my own way.

So, what will it take to move forward into this next realm of consciousness and acceptance? What can I do to assist myself as I willingly surrender to my path and the infinite wisdom of the Universe? I can eat well, and honor my body. I can engage the wisdom all around me, and honor my mind. And I can maintain mindful practices, such as meditation, and honor my spirit. What can you do?

This week, it’s all about being open to the possibilities of the Universe, and allowing its many gifts to unfold in your life, by taking a leap of faith and trusting. So difficult, and yet, so easy at the same time. I wish you only the best as the beauty of this process presents itself to you.

THree THings

Body – how can you honor your body so that it is in a state of welcoming embrace? Would stretching in the morning help?

Mind – how would you honor your mind, to keep it alive and engaged in the world around you? How about turning off the television one night a week? Or three? Or all?

Spirit – what makes you feel most alive and passionate at your deepest core? What makes you giggle inside like a child? What feeds your soul?

In love and light,

Martina

Words and their Meanings

Today I was listening to BBC radio, and there was a story on there in which the interviewee was talking about forgiveness. He said “in order for him to forgive – he had to think about what that meant for him.” Isn’t that the truth!

Earlier this week I was listening to NPR and the commentator was discussing the “priorities” of our government. He went on to list about 10 things – all of which were a priority. But, doesn’t the word “priority” imply a pecking order in which one thing is listed at the top?

Finally, on Sunday I was listening to a member of a group I attend discuss the word “detachment” – actually, she was talking about “detaching with love.” It’s an important phrase to know and understand, and one that ultimately leads us back to caring for ourselves instead of always putting others and their needs first. But the word “detaching” was getting to me. It didn’t somehow seem right for the sentiment of what was being discussed.

So often, we use words loosely enough that we, at times, befuddle others and ourselves. We buy into a phrase, or a system, without truly investigating the meaning behind what we’re saying or doing. And as we are all aware, there are numerous meanings for the same exact word. So, what does it mean to you to detach? Or to forgive? Or to prioritize?

For me – “detaching with love” was the most emotionally triggering phrase this week. I know the sentiment behind the phrase is about returning to self. I understand that; but somehow the phrase “detaching with love” isn’t about the self – it’s still about the other person or situation. When you detach – you are detaching from something or someone. There is another entity inherently implied by using the word. So, if detaching with love is about returning to yourself (so that you are able to no longer be as affected by someone or something else, but instead are able to greet that stimuli with love) – then isn’t it better to say something more affirming? Such as “connecting” or “returning” to self, in love? Somehow, for me, it seems to convey a better description of the true meaning of the idea, rather than using a word that has an entirely different meaning altogether.

As for “priority” – by definition, there can only be one priority. Priorities can change, based on circumstances, situations or events; but there is truly only one priority. So, when I heard the interview about the government’s “priorities” – it made me realize that I do the same thing. I have a list of priorities: family, health, work, financial stability, friends, etc. But what is my true priority? Well, today it’s health. Tomorrow it may be family. The rest of the list doesn’t go away. The rest of the list can be prioritized, but they can’t all be priorities. Can they? For me, redefining the meaning of the word, and using it authentically, I actually feel less overwhelmed. I no longer have this huge list, which is comprised of equally important things. I now have a list that is manageable – with one thing at the top, and the rest following. It’s an important realization that really helps me to keep things in perspective. And in using the word properly, I am not diminishing the importance of the other items; rather I am creating the possibility for each item to have its turn on the “front burner,” as needed. This, in turn, frees me up emotionally and physically.

Finally, there’s forgiveness. For me, forgiveness is about me. Years ago, I purchased the very first book that started me on this healing journey: “Women Who Run With the Wolves.” It was recommended to me, and I thought, “I like that title – cool.” When I bought it, I was overwhelmed by it. It was really big and impressive. There was no way I was going to read it cover to cover. Instead, I decided to ask for guidance. When I first opened the book, I asked the Universe to open it to a page that I needed to read. The first time I opened the book I read about forgiveness. And on that eye-opening day, I learned that forgiveness was not about condoning the other person, or their behavior, but about closing a chapter on something in order to allow myself to heal and move forward with grace and love, for myself. Forgiveness was about me. I had never thought of that before, but when I contemplated it, it made perfect sense. Holding a grudge (or fear/resentment) only serves to keep ME down. It does nothing to the other person. If it does, it’s because they are choosing to allow it to do so – which, again, has nothing to do with me. So, when I forgive someone, I am giving myself the opportunity to move on and reconnect with myself from a loving position. What an amazing way to look at something.

Now, back to the BBC interviewee: For him, he defined “forgiveness” as telling someone his or her behavior was “ok,” even if it wasn’t. He felt that by forgiving, he was condoning something unacceptable. Therefore, he was not able to forgive what was done to him. However, he has managed to find compassion for the person, instead. This is his definition of forgiveness. In working through his feelings, however, his compassion has taken on the role of forgiveness for the person, without actually using the word. What he can’t forgive is the behavior or action. Separating the two aspects has allowed this man to move forward with his life, with grace, love and integrity.

There are myriad ways to look at each of these three words and their daily use. How do you use them? Do you, too, have a long list of “priorities” that makes you feel overwhelmed, at times? What if you had one priority, and you listed everything else in order? Would you feel better? More focused? What about forgiveness? Are you holding onto a grudge? If so, what is that doing for you? What if you were able to let it go? Could you separate out the behavior and the person? Would that help? Or can you see it from the perspective that forgiveness is about you giving yourself an opportunity to move forward? And have you thought about detaching from someone or something that isn’t healthy for you? If it’s difficult, or the idea of it provokes anxiety, what about reconnecting with yourself, instead? How does that sound? Sometimes, by reconnecting, detachment occurs as a side effect. What about that?

All these questions are ideas and thoughts that help us move forward in our lives, by examining a place in which we might be stuck. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to any of them. Just thoughts, ideas and feelings, all of which are valid.

THree THings

For now, think about your words – what you’re saying, and what you mean. What changes could you make? What changes would you make?

Body – our bodies react to other people’s words. Remember the children’s rhyme: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Well, as adults (and even as kids) we know it’s simply not true. Words can hurt, and they do hurt. So, what words have hurt you lately? Could you approach the person who said them and ask them to re-phrase or re-think?

Mind – the endless chatter in our minds can be debilitating. Buddhism terms it the “monkey mind” for a reason. When there is no space for quiet, there is no space for serenity. If words (phrases/thoughts) are flying through your mind regularly, how can you acknowledge them, without giving them weight? Freeing up some space in your mind allows for possibilities to emerge.

Spirit – just as in our body and mind, our spirit can also be affected by words. Think of the book, “The Hidden Messages in Water” by Masaru Emoto. If words can transform the crystallization of water – what can words do to our essence, our spirit? What do you tell yourself as you fall asleep? As you wake up?

“Be impeccable with your word,” is one of The Four Agreements (written by Don Miguel Ruiz). Be impeccable, indeed. Treat yourself with kindness, love and gratitude. Your body, mind and spirit will appreciate it.