Monthly Archives: September 2009

A New Page

A friend of mine recently took a yoga class where the instructor typically shares a thought for the day at the end of the class. She told me about what he said, and I thought it was a great idea that I wanted to pass on and expand upon. He said that when he was younger, he always looked forward to the start of school in the Fall. Each year he would begin his classes with new pens, new pads of paper, new erasers – all the school supplies he needed to learn, read, write and grow. And it was the “newness” of it all that made him smile. That’s what he remembers most. He has translated that into being able to look at a ream of blank paper today and see all the possibilities that lie in that blank, new supply.

Furthermore, he has taken this idea a step further to recognize that each morning, there is a new piece of paper on which he can write his script for the day. Each day is new and brings new possibilities – a fresh start. Lovely.

I’d like to take this notion even further and say that if yesterday’s paper is still around – we must take care with what we do with it. When you finish a day, do you throw the paper away? Do you file it? Do you shred it? Or do you fold it neatly into a small package that you carry with you for the rest of your life? Well, with some things, I imagine we’d want to carry the paper with us. Like when we get married, or have a child, or celebrate other of life’s momentous occasions. But what happens when we carry all the pieces of paper with us, including those that were not so momentous, or life-enhancing? If each day is a piece of paper in itself, and you are 40 years old, you’d be carrying 14,600 pieces of paper with you every day. Do the math: that’s 29.2 reams of paper — In other words, a file cabinet!!

So – what can we do with the papers of yesterday? Well, we have options. We can create a “file cabinet” of sorts, and store everything – or we can choose what we save (and might want to revisit) and what we discard. Either way, it’s about choice. Just as every morning we can wake up and choose to pull out a fresh piece of paper and write a new script.

THree THings

Body – How heavy is the load of old paper you are carrying? Is it manifesting physically in your body?

Mind – What possibilities can you dream up in your mind for today’s piece of paper? What opportunities exist that you haven’t yet created?

Spirit – A blank piece of paper is pure. It’s white, light and bright. Your spirit is pure in the same way. When we write on something so pure, and imprint it with color and ink, are we consciously choosing what marks we want to make – is someone choosing for you?

Seeds

In reading the book “Jesus Lived in India” by Holger Kersten, I have been taken on a journey that I could not have imagined when I started it a few weeks ago. So many questions are running through my mind, and yet, at the same time, I find that I have no real need for answers. I have rediscovered that faith in something greater than myself, is simply that: faith. Whether Jesus died on the cross, didn’t die on the cross, lived in India, or didn’t live in India – it doesn’t change the faith I have in the Divine. And Divinity is different for everyone. Some see the Divine in nature, for others it’s in a church or a child’s eyes. You get the idea. Wherever you see and experience the Divine presence, one thing binds us all together, and that is the seeds of faith. Amazing.

With that said, there was a quote toward the end of the book that I wanted to share with you, because I felt it was particularly prophetic. It is a parable, presumably taken from Jesus’ life in India.

People hear my words: a farmer goes to sow his fields. Then the birds come and eat the seed. Other seed falls on the path. And behold, some falls on the rock where there is no earth, and withers away. Some falls under the thorns and cannot grow. The seed that falls on the good earth, however, sprouts and brings forth fruit. The sower is the sage and the seeds are his words of wisdom. The seeds that are eaten by the birds are like people who do not understand the words. The seeds that fall on to the rock are the words of wisdom that go in one ear and come out the other. The seeds that land under the thorns are those who actually hear and see, but do not act accordingly. But the seeds that land on the good earth are like those who hear the words of wisdom and act accordingly.” (attributed to Sheikh Al-Sa’id-us-Sâdiq and his book “Ikmâl-ud-Dîn” – translated by Max Müller; excerpted from “Jesus Lived in India” by Holger Kersten)

What are your seeds? Where have your seeds landed? And who has sowed them for you? Are you even aware of what seeds are growing in the gardens of your body, mind and spirit? The final sentence in the book contains the seeds themselves:

– he (Jesus) actually lived what he taught. Toleration at all times, care for the welfare and benefit of others (human and animal), giving and sharing, selflessness in helping others to carry the burden of their suffering, a universal and unconditional love for all –

Lovely. Now, what could we grow if we all allowed these seeds to land on good earth, receive water, sunlight and care? I think we must also ask: is our earth “good” enough to begin with? Perhaps that’s the better place to begin. There are so many ways to interpret that question – and I imagine most of you will read it differently. Here’s some clarifying questions to ask yourself: What does your earth look like? Is it fertile? Could it use some assistance or clearing of debris? What can you grow the way things are now? What would you like to grow, and how can you change the soil of yourself in order to create the garden of your possibilities?

THree Things

This week, the THree Things are quite simple.

Body – What “seeds” have you been planting in your body? Quite literally: what are you eating and drinking?

Mind – What seeds have you allowed to be sowed in your mind? It’s ok – we’ve all allowed others to “plant” things – but perhaps it’s time to do a little weeding.

Spirit – Your faith in the Divine is just that: yours. Hear the wisdom and follow it, on your path, nurturing the seeds that you know to be truth.

In love and light,

Martina

Two as One

This week I was taking a walk in the neighborhood, and I saw something I’ve never noticed before: two trees as one. It wasn’t as if it was one tree that just had two main branches or trunks – this is two trees, until it becomes one as it approaches the earth. Was it originally two seeds that grew together and then discovered their own identities? Or was it one seed that grew solidly and then shared more of itself with the world by splitting in two?

Either way, it was the most amazing gift to walk along and stumble upon this creation. It brought a lot of thoughts to my mind – but most importantly, I just sat in awe of this embodiment of what it means to be UNI-versal. All is One. One is All.

In my daily life, I strive to incorporate this philosophy – that I am part of the whole, and in so being, I am also whole. “As above, so below.” But what does that actually mean? There are so many theories, stories, writings and philosophies out there that sometimes it’s hard to weed through them all and come to the higher, more simplistic meaning. I am not going to throw another definition into the mix. However, I am going to offer a few thoughts that I have had along my own journey. To use an old algebraic formula (a=b=c):

I am energy; I am made up of energy; everything is made up of energy – therefore, I am everything.

If I am everything – then everything is me. Therefore, I am nothing, because I am not different – everything is the same. We are all One.

I’ve read so many different perspectives on this same truth – and at times, I have been very confused, because it is not always easy to wrap your mind around this idea. Your mind gets too involved and tries to rationalize it out – but your heart knows. And thanks to this glorious tree, I understand it better now, in its simplest form: For although we may each reach out differently, grow differently, experience things differently – at our base, we are all One. The Universe has given me the perfect example in my walk.

Now – I know some of you are thinking: so, how does this apply to my daily life? What can this truth do to help me out with what’s going on today? (Can you hear your mind getting involved, already?) Here’s my take on those questions:

THree THings

Body – If everything is the same, then it is important to recognize that the feelings and reactions you may have when someone says or treats you a certain way, will also (usually) apply to them, too.

That is to say: “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” This is the simplest instruction manual for living a peaceful life of intention…the Golden Rule. Do you follow it? Do you wish others would? Wouldn’t it be nice if we all followed it just a little bit more?

Mind – Just as you would “do unto others” – you should also “do unto yourself.” How are you treating yourself lately? What are you saying in your mind, that others cannot hear? Do you look in the mirror and hear your voice speak to you with love? Or with judgment? Something to be aware of.

Spirit – In our daily Pause, we allow for the wisdom of the moment to come through. When we are connected enough, we see things we’ve never seen before; hear things we’ve never heard before. Pause, re-connect, and see what you’ve been missing. You’ll be glad you did.

In love and light,

Martina

Inspiration

in⋅spi⋅ra⋅tion  [in-spuhrey-shuhn] –noun

1. an inspiring or animating action or influence; 2. Something inspired, as an idea; 3. A result of inspired activity; 4. A thing or person that inspires; 5. Theology a) a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul, b) the divine quality of the writings or words of a person influenced; 6. The drawing of air into the lungs, inhalation; 7. The act of inspiring, quality or state of being inspired

At first glance, the definition of “inspiration” seems almost too shallow: “something inspired,” “the act of inspiring,” or “a result of inspired activity.” Duh- really?!? But it’s the 5th and 6th phrases that begin to show us a little bit more. Let’s start with the 6th.

“The drawing of air into the lungs, inhalation.” Quite literally: breath. Which in turn means life. Inspiration, therefore, is life. It is life-giving and life-enhancing. It is life in all its glory. Dr. Wayne Dyer often refers to inspiration as being “in-spirit,” which also means life. For without our souls, without our spirit giving life to this body, we would cease to exist. Oh, we may be able to “stay alive” in physical form for a while, but without the breath of spirit, it is a half-life. So, that 6th definition seems somehow like it should be bumped up to #1. Without breath, we cease to exist. Inspiration is breath – and so much more.

On to the 5th definition – the theological one: “ a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.” This harkens back to Dr. Dyer’s definition of inspiration, but it walks hand in hand with the idea of inspiration as breath. For when someone is inspired, they seem to carry themselves differently. Have you ever noticed that? Whether it’s inspired at work on a project, or inspired while volunteering, raising children or gardening – a person who is truly walking in inspiration seems, at times, to be floating. They have a lightness about them that we long to be near, to understand, and to attain ourselves. Is this a Divine influence? Absolutely. But the form it took when it came to this inspired person may not have appeared to be Divine on the surface of things.

That is to say: who inspires you? Is it always someone you would call “Divine” – or is it a friend, mentor or colleague? Perhaps it’s an everyday person who you would never associate with the Divine, without thinking about it. This is where it gets tricky, and yet is so simple. Every inspiration we receive is Divinely given – but not always recognized as such. If you are inspired by someone’s actions, those actions are being shown to you in a Divine manner. It’s as if they have an invisible envelope of Divinity around them that somehow brings the message into focus for you, but not others. The actions are the same, but the fact that you were inspired by them is because they were meant for you. That process is Divine.

Now, let’s turn the tables. We can all list people or things that inspire us. But what about the people who are inspired by us? What about our actions, decisions and behaviors that are wrapped in an invisible Divine envelope and sent out to those around us? How often do we stop to think about who we are inspiring with our behaviors and words? Even in life coaching, I have received feedback on things I’ve said that I never would have thought to be “inspirational.” But my words at the time were delivered Divinely to the person hearing them. Why? Because it’s what they needed to hear at that point in their life, to grow and become a better version of themselves. It’s not me – it’s Divine.

I am a messenger. I allow my words to be wrapped in that envelope and carried on the wind to the soul of the individual with whom I am working. Some would call me inspirational – and I am honored, and humbled by that word. If I take it to mean that I am living with breath, in spirit? Then, yes, I am inspirational. If I take it to mean something more – and my ego gets involved – then I am nothing.

So – who inspires you, and why? And whom do you inspire? If not a person, then what inspires you? We all go through our days rarely aware of all the people we touch; and it’s only when we sit down at the end of the day and ask the question that we realize all the people that have touched us. What if we allowed ourselves to be that messenger carrying invisible envelopes, and in so doing, opened ourselves up to the possibility of living an inspired life – in breath, and in spirit? What then?

Perhaps we would pause a little bit more, allowing time for the Divine to speak through us to others, whether we understand it or not. And perhaps in pausing more, we would also open up our ears and our hearts to receive our own little invisible envelopes more regularly. Or perhaps we would just allow ourselves to walk through life a little lighter, a little brighter. Either way, we’d be inspired and inspirational, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

THree THings

Summer is winding down, and it’s time to take stock, before heading into hibernation. Hibernation is a slower time, time to process, release and restore. In preparation for the oncoming rest, here are some initial thoughts, within the general idea of inspiration:

Body – Is there someone in your life who you look up to – who inspires you – to be healthier? What if you honored them by sharing how they have inspired you? Or if you haven’t made changes yet, but would like to – what if you asked them for guidance, support or assistance? Allowing them to inspire you more directly?

Mind – When was the last time you inspired yourself? Truly. It is possible. It comes under the veil of feeling proud of an accomplishment – this veil is just a filter, changing the words from inspiring to proud. Nothing more. When did you last feel proud of yourself for something you’ve done – did it inspire you to do more? Or did you let your mind – and ego – get in the way?

Spirit – Inspiration is all around us – we see it everyday, if we choose to. In order to be inspiring and be inspired, we have to be open to the Divine messages, delivered on the wind, in invisible envelopes. As with everything, take what resonates with you and leave the rest behind. But if you’re closed off to everything, you’re cheating your soul and your spirit of a Divinely-inspired life.

Perhaps on your next walk when you see a flower on the side of the path, or the next visit to a coffee shop, just see if there is one thing that makes your spirit smile. Just one. That’s inspiration. It’s breath. It’s life. You’re on your way!

In love and light,

Martina

Teachers

What is it about teachers that we love (and sometimes hate) so much? Is it that they challenge us? Nuture us? Provide us with answers? Provide us with questions? Do you remember your favorite teachers? Why were they your favorites? And furthermore, can you think of any teachers you’ve had since you’ve been out of academics? In other words, what constitutes a “Teacher?”

I’ve been pondering this question for a few years, actually. On my current path, I’ve come across many excellent teachers. My Reiki teacher, for example, has given me more than just Reiki certification. These gifts have allowed me to question myself and grow a bit more each time we were together. Sometimes, though, it was just my time to be nurtured, not challenged and she knew that, and gladly obliged. However, she wasn’t the “teacher” for which I was searching. Something inside me told me there was someone out there I was meant to “study” with, for a while. So, I kept searching – all the while bouncing from one person to another, gaining knowledge, insight and wisdom along the way. Allowing myself to be challenged, and then running away when I was.

Then I met my Teacher. With a capital “T.” Is he a teacher? Yes. Is he so much more? Yes. He’s a mentor, a guide, a sounding board, a friend. He listens, he challenges, he questions, he nutures, and he comforts. He lives in love, and he is a shining example of that. But what exactly does that mean? And why him? Why him, and not all the others I have worked with over the last few years? Is it a feeling? Is it an intuition? Is it a knowing? What is it about our favorite teachers that makes us so happy and receptive to what they offer? What is it about them that makes us remember them forever and always?

This isn’t to say that I won’t remember all the other mentors I’ve had along the way, and will continue to work with – but why is this one person “different?” Why do we gravitate toward people in our lives at specific times or during specific stages? Is it that they have something we want? Probably. Is it that they are meant to be in our path? Also, probably. But what else is there? Something more?

In my experience, it’s when there’s “something more” that I have found truly profound growth and wisdom. And, luckily, I have found him – for this stage in my life. A gift? Definitely. A destiny? Absolutely. A surprise? Not really. A blessing? Yup – depending on how you look at it. With meeting him, I am challenged more than ever before, and yet, I know I will grow more than ever before as a result. It can be difficult, draining and emotionally upsetting at times – but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. So, where do I go from here? After three years of “searching” for my Teacher, I have found him. What does that mean? It means, it’s time for the work to begin. I’ve been working diligently for three years, step by step. Awakening, studying, learning, growing – and yet now I can say my “true work” will begin. Perhaps that’s the best definition of a teacher. Someone who allows you the space to do your best, who challenges you along the way, and who helps you up when you fall down. A teacher is someone who loves you, nurtures you, cares for you – but keeps your feet to the fire in order to help you become the best version of yourself. Whether it’s academics, spirituality or physical health – teachers provide us with the opportunities to maximize our potential, and grow into better human beings. And hopefully, we then share that growth with others, and become teachers ourselves.

As such – aren’t we all teachers? And aren’t we always learning from others, in a similar way? And if we stop to really think about it – isn’t every interaction with another person an opportunity to both teach and learn? I don’t mean it’s an opportunity to force your own beliefs on someone else, or take over their free will, but rather every interaction is an opportunity to learn from each other, and help each other be the best we can be – whether it’s a doctor, football player, plumber, designer or teacher. We’re all helping each other – we’re all working together. When we stop working together, we feel it. It feels somehow “wrong.” And we seek out other people to be around.

There’s a saying I’m sure you’re familiar with: People come into our lives for “a reason, a season or a lifetime.” While I agree with the physicality of that statement. I think people who come into our lives, or cross our paths are with us forever. We are always touched by them – whether in learning how not to be, or learning how to be a better version of ourselves. So, next time you come across someone you haven’t seen in a while, or you meet someone new, or you have dinner with a best friend – maybe it’s time to slow down, and honor the gifts they bring to you. And in turn, they will have an opportunity to do the same. Eventually, my hope is that we can spread this around the world, and people will become a little lighter, brighter and more in touch with their inner peace and happiness. Simply by pausing long enough to honor the teachers in their life, and their own role as a teacher for others, we can accomplish great things.

As for my Teacher – I’m only just beginning on my path with him, and it is a privilege. I am honored every time I speak or write with him, and I am always waiting for the next “lesson,” which sometimes I don’t even realize occurred until long after I’ve received the answer within myself. It’s amazing.

THree THings

This week is all about recognizing the things around you and your role within your own environment and relationships as well.

Body – Do you remember having PE in elementary school? There was a reason it was a part of our education: learning to move, every day, and honor your body is important to your overall health and wellbeing. I remember thinking it odd that someone can get a degree to “teach” PE – but it makes sense. A PE teacher (or a yoga instructor, etc.) reminds us of that we are physical as well as spiritual. So, get your gym shoes on – grab a friend, and get going. A little game of “tag” or “Red Rover” never hurt anyone.

Mind – What was the last book you read? Summer is all about indulgent books on the seashore or by the pool. I’m all for a little guilty pleasure (I’m reading “Stori Telling” myself right now, by Tori Spelling), but what about the part of you that longs for more knowledge or information – is there a culture you’ve always been curious about? What if your next book focused on that – their history, traditions or food? Cookbooks can be surprisingly informative about culture and history. I have a large collection, just for that reason. I feel I get to know a people better, by understanding their cooking.

Spirit – Priests, Rabbis, monks, nuns – they’re all great teachers. What other teachers exist to nurture your spiritual growth? A friend? A parent? A grandparent? Sometimes, a long talk with a good friend about the questions of life as they are currently playing out in your life can open up new doors and opportunities you never knew existed. How about calling your friend, and setting up just such a date?

In love and light,

Martina