Monthly Archives: December 2009

Reminders are good for the heart

I celebrate Christmas, though I also do my best to honor and enjoy all of the other holidays at this time of year – but celebrating Christmas is how I grew up, and it carries so many different meanings for me. As with most of us who gather with family at this time of year – it’s a time to celebrate being together, enjoying each other’s company – and possibly the ritual disagreement(s) about the past. But in the end, regardless of which holiday you celebrate this time of year represents a time to be grateful. It’s an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on our many blessings. I was reminded of that today. I’m grateful for the reminder. I know it will change how I approach each gathering, and how I will look back on this holiday season in the months to come. Sometimes, all it takes is a reminder – even if we already know something. Especially when we already know something.

With that said – this week I simply want to share with you one of my favorite sections from one of my favorite Christmas stories: How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. We all know “grinches” in our lives – in fact, we’ve all been grinches at one time or another. So, this section is worth repeating – if only to serve as a reminder to us of what’s possible when we stop and listen.

So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow – – –

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so? “It came without ribbons! It came without tags! “It came without packages, boxes or bags!” And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. “Maybe Christmas…perhaps….means a little bit more!”

And what happened then…? Well. . . .In Who-ville they say That the Grinch’s small heart Grew three sizes that day!

Wishing you all a joyous holiday. May your hearts grow larger this holiday season and be filled with love, laughter and joy as you celebrate with family and friends. Merry Merry, Happy Happy and Joy to the World with Peace on Earth for all.

In Love and Light,

Martina

Living Optimally

So – it’s been a week, and what a week it’s been. Yours truly has been knocked down by the flu. Not sure whether it was just the common flu or the H1N1 strain – but whatever it was, it definitely got me. Which brings me to this week’s topic: Living Optimally.

A dear friend of mine recently shared her new life mantra with me, and I love it. It’s “Be happy now.” What does that mean exactly? Well, my interpretation is that it means that she is making decisions based on that idea. For example: if there is a choice to make between two things (as many of us experience this holiday season), she might look at the options through the filter of what will support her mantra of being happy now. Living in the moment. Too often we feel obligated to accept all invitations. As such, social commitments sometimes become a chore or a task, rather than a celebration. Now – this isn’t to say that you have to turn people down, but it does put a different perspective on things. If you have two holiday parties to go to on the same night, then you have the power to make the decision to choose one or the other – or both! More importantly, however, you also have the power to CHOOSE how you are going to approach the evening. Will you look at it as an overwhelming commitment? Or will you look at it as an opportunity to celebrate relationships and enjoy the moment? It’s your choice. Be happy now.

But let’s take this back to my experience with the flu. Last week I told you about Dr. Darren and Dr. Tom’s work. A major part of their work incorporates the idea of The Five Basics for Optimal Health, which are: ‘The quantity, quality, and frequency of water, food, rest, exercise and owning one’s power.” Of course, this is nothing new to most of us – except for, possibly, the “owning one’s power” part. But that relates back to what I just said about choice. As for the other four pieces – well, they’re just common sense, aren’t they? Or are they? If they were that simple – the weight loss industry and health care industry wouldn’t be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. So, where’s the disconnect?

In my opinion, it’s that last piece: owning your power. Owning your power means making a decision. Just like my friend has done in deciding to “be happy now” – it’s the decisions that drive us either toward health and wellness, or dysfunction and disease. If we want a quick-fix solution to a life-long problem, that’s a choice. And it might mean spending the rest of your life searching for the solution – rather than choosing a long-term strategy. But what about when things like the flu epidemic take place? I considered myself to be fairly healthy with a strong immune system, but I still got knocked down. Why? Was it something I did? Could I have done something different? Was I living optimally before I got sick? The answer is no – to all of those questions. I was not living optimally, however, there was also nothing I did to cause it, and there was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it, because that’s in the past. Going forward, however, I can make different choices.

I can choose to drink better water, more often, in larger amounts. I can also choose to go to bed earlier, and sleep better – giving my body more opportunity for rest and restoration. Food and exercise will also play a role. By making a deliberate decision to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, as well as daily movement in any form, I will be providing my body with the best possible scenario to heal and become stronger. The best part is, by making these decisions I will be owning my own power. In a way, it’s both a catalyst and a happy side effect of living a healthier life. It’s cyclical, and it will fuel itself.

One more thing, though – a big part of owning my power is also making the choice not to shame myself (and feel guilt) if I should choose something defined as “less healthy.” Life is about moderation, and life is about choices. A bowl of ice cream or a side order of French fries is a choice – it’s also a choice to feel happy about it and enjoy it fully, or to feel guilt about it and remorse. THAT is truly owning your power. So, just as my friend has embraced her own power by creating a mantra by which she lives her life, so can you. Every morning you have a choice to make on how you will approach your day. And every night, when you are lying in bed about to fall asleep, you have the power to choose how you will look back on your day and your choices. It’s up to you. Once you begin owning your power, the rest will naturally start falling into place. Amazing. And it all begins with you….with your choices.

THree THings

Body – What do you choose to drink first thing when you wake up in the morning? Water or coffee? Which one is more consistent with living optimally? Coffee is fine, but when you wake up, your body has become more dehydrated overnight. A glass of water might wake you up faster than the caffeine would.

Mind – If you find yourself feeling guilt about something – it’s probably an old pattern of belief. Pause. Give yourself a break, and see if you can make a decision to think differently.

Spirit – Honoring yourself is the greatest gift. It will give you the strength to take the initial steps toward living optimally.

In Love and Light,

Martina

Infinite Love and Gratitude

This week I would like to share with you my experiences from a workshop/training I took this weekend. The workshop was called “Conscious Body-Conscious Mind” presented by Dr. Darren Weissman, based on his book, work and research. His book is called “The Power of Infinite Love & Gratitude: An Evolutionary Journey to Awakening Your Spirit” and the workshop was the first step in learning The LifeLine Technique. Now, I have been working with Dr. Darren’s friend and colleague, Dr. Tom Bayne, for over five years. I knew exactly what the LifeLine was all about, but I had never read the book, nor had I thought about learning the technique myself. Then I signed up, at the last minute, for this workshop – and I’m very glad I did.

Let me back up. Dr. Darren’s work is based on the simple truth that we are all energy – that everything is energy. From there, he expands that truth to explore how energy – specifically “negative” thoughts or emotions – can impact us and manifest in our lives physically, causing illness or disease. Ok, that was a REALLY simplified explanation of what’s going on, but I wanted to try to break it down into something more easily digestible. So – where does that take us, and what does that mean?

It means that thoughts, emotions and our environment can make us sick. And if that can happen – then the reverse is also true. We can heal ourselves by changing those patterns. Or, rather, our body can heal itself and function optimally if we allow it to. How? By creating an environment of, and offering it, “infinite love and gratitude” from a place of presence and compassion. Wow. So, during these three days of intense study, work and learning – I realized that even though I had been working with this premise for about five years, on and off, I hadn’t really accepted it.

Almost every appointment I went to with Dr. Tom, I wanted “him” to fix “me.” Now, this isn’t to say that I didn’t grasp it on some level, nor is it to say that I haven’t done some amazing work with Dr. Tom, shifting energy and emotional patterns that I’ve held for a very long time. Because I have done both, and I am so much healthier, happier and stronger than I was five years ago. But participating in this workshop, learning the technique from the inside out (including the research and work behind it) has opened my mind to new possibilities for wellness. I am so grateful.

I also realize that my acceptance is not yet complete. I know that I am now open to the possibility of these truths more than ever before, but that I am going to go through this process in a manner that is congruent with who I am. So, for me, that means small bites – with the occasional large gulp. Regardless of the speed, those are still steps forward – and isn’t that what it’s all about? Figuring out what works for you, and then honoring that process? We can do anything we want. We can wake up each morning and make that choice. Some people like to dive into things completely – head first, and eyes closed. Others like to test the water, sit by it for a while, then maybe put their feet in. Eventually – it doesn’t matter which speed we choose, because as long as we are honoring ourselves, and making our decisions authentically, from a place of love and gratitude, we are doing exactly what we need – and we will make progress. If we do things that way, then there is a greater likelihood that we will consistently move forward, rather than taking two steps forward, then one back, then another forward, then two back, and on and on.

So – while I couldn’t possibly distill everything I learned this weekend into one weekly writing (and I wouldn’t want to), you can be sure that my heart and my mind are processing all of this new information and it will slowly seep into my life as it’s meant to. And I will continue moving forward on this journey of mine, sharing with you as I go, in order to better help you on your own path.

For now, the biggest piece I would like to share with you is this: offering yourself and others “infinite love and gratitude” from your heart can have a profound effect on your life. The world – the Universe – is infinite, and so are you. I offer each of you Infinite Love & Gratitude from my heart.

THree THings

Body – Do your best to love yourself everyday. This can simply be making a decision to increase your water intake – especially during the dry winter months. I know I am. Infinite Love & Gratitude to your beautiful body.

Mind – Do your best to honor yourself everyday. Authentically speak your truth from a place of love. Infinite Love & Gratitude to your amazing mind.

Spirit – Do your best to be yourself everyday. You are energy – you are pure love and light. Infinite Love & Gratitude to your magnificent spirit.

In Love and Light,

Martina

For more information on Dr. Darren Weissman or Dr. Tom Bayne – please visit their websites at: www.infiniteloveandgratitude.com and www.pbhealthcenter.com, respectively. You won’t regret it :-) (Photos of Dr. Darren’s book and Dr. Tom’s lotus logo duplicated from their websites.)

Intentional Interactions

Last week I gave myself a gift. I took a mini-pilgrimage, of sorts, to Detroit. Detroit?!? Yes. Detroit. I went there because it was about 5 hours away, and it was the last stop on Amma’s North American tour. Who is Amma? Well, Amma is a living saint – though she hardly describes herself as such. She is also known as “the hugging saint” amongst her followers. In short, without labeling her – Amma is a gift. And she shares herself with the entire world. (www.amma.org)

Amma’s gift consists of love and compassion, expressed through a hug. That’s it. It’s the simplest, most profound, gift: a hug. Last week I touched on the importance of hugs and handshakes. Well, soon after writing that entry, I was off on my road trip to see Amma. And I’m not even sure that I had realized the depth of my own message, until I experienced one of Amma’s hugs. At first, it was nothing seemingly spectacular, and yet quietly it became everything all at once. Let me explain.

A hug is a hug – right? Wrong. You know it when you hug someone who doesn’t like to be hugged. Kind of like when you get a “dead fish” handshake. Well, there’s such a thing as a “dead fish” hug, too. The person isn’t entirely present with you. They’re hugging you out of obligation or some sense of societal code. They would rather be anywhere else than in that hug. Now, the reverse is true. When you hug someone who really means it – who feels it in their entire body – you know it. And you usually respond in kind.

This summer I had the opportunity to meet and work with a group of people who gave these types of hugs – and it was truly amazing. But there was one person in particular, Jack, whose hugs were more than just two humans sharing space and expressing themselves with kindness, love and compassion. His hugs transcended the human experience until your breath became synchronized, and you felt your souls meet and greet one another, all in a matter of a few seconds. I had never experienced something like that before. At first it took me out of my familiar zone, but by the second of such hugs, I found myself looking forward to seeing Jack again – just to get one of his amazing hugs! This is a person who touched my soul, and I can conjure up the feeling that hug created – the warmth, connectedness and love – anytime I want. What a gift.

With Amma, though the embrace is physically different, and (for me) didn’t have such an immediate affect as Jack’s hug did, I find myself reflecting on it still. It has a depth that I am only just beginning to experience. It was warm, full of light, compassion and love; and I will go so far as to say it was soul-altering. Amma’s gift is her presence, which stays with you long after she has let you go. How many people can you say that about in your life? Which brings me to my point:

When something as simple as a kind, loving and compassionate hug can alter your emotional psyche – can you imagine what else we are capable of? There is a simpler way for me to say this.

Words matter.

Thoughts matter.

Intention matters.

The next time you’re with someone and you share a hug, think of what you’re truly saying to that other person. Is it simply a “hello” – or is it more? We don’t need to hug everyone we meet with the same intensity or depth of emotion. But if ‘intention matters’ – then it will come across in your interactions. Always. So, if you’re not comfortable hugging people – then let them know. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s actually better to not hug someone, and be authentic, than it is to hug someone from a place of discomfort and lack of integrity.

As for my mini-pilgrimage, I continue to conjure up the myriad emotions I experienced during my time with Amma. I reflect with joy, gratitude and love for her many gifts, and I know that they will continue to unfold in my life, my soul, as I remember her embrace. Her loving, compassionate, caring embrace. What a gift.

THree THings

Body – approach your interactions with intention and authenticity.

Mind – approach your thoughts and yourself with love, kindness and compassion.

Spirit – allow your soul to experience these gifts, without parameters or strings.

In Love and Light,

Martina

(photos: Amma photo reproduced from Amma’s website www.amma.org; Swan photo courtesy of Charlotte Rushton, www.charlotterushton.com)