Monthly Archives: March 2010

Can I quote you on that?

This time, I wanted to start the week off with a suggestion for each of you. Over the years, I have always collected quotes. I remember giving and receiving a ‘quote book’ in high school, and it was a big deal. In fact, I recently came across one given to me by my good friend, Sarah. It’s awesome to look back onto the words that I once found inspiring, and remember the feelings associated with them. Such a wonderful way to spend a few minutes in the day. And that brings me back to today and this week. To follow are a bunch of quotes that have resonated with me over the past 6 months. Here’s my suggestion for you:

Read the quotes, and see if any of them resonate with you. Then pick the one that “hits” you the most, and simply read it again. Think about it and pause long enough to know how it feels in your body as you read it. Then, if you like – carry it with you throughout the week. Journal about it, or just share it with a loved one. There’s a reason the quote you chose is speaking to you at this point in time. Honor your intuition, and follow it through to the end. You may be deliciously surprised by what pops up, when you let things go.
In Love and Light,
Martina
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” (Sirius, from Harry Potter 5)
“When your heart speaks, take good notes.” (Judith Campbell)
“Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.” (Mother Theresa)
“Less gives appreciation for more.” (Kate Brenton)
“People only change after trauma, if they wanted to change before the trauma.” (House)
“It only takes a few minutes to see the truth of an entire lifetime.”
(Santa Clause 3)
“No time is wasted that makes two people friends.” (Holiday Affair)
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” (Alan Kay)
“The world’s a playground. We knew that as kids, but somewhere along the way we all forgot it.” (Yes Man)
“Life’s too short to live the same day twice.” (Monster-In-Law)
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” (Carl Jung)

“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a [hu]man without trials.” (On a Clear Day)

My First Sweat Lodge (3/23/10) — Impressions

I wanted to write about my experience with my first sweat lodge this morning – at 5am (!) – because I really want to share with those of you who are interested (or just curious, as I was) about something like this…so, I’ll do my best to chronicle my experience for you. I am visiting my friend, Paula, in Taos – and she asked her partner, Pedro, who is a Medicine Man, to hold a lodge for me so that I could share in this experience with her. Teri, one of their friends, also joined us. I just completed my Reiki Master training this weekend, so this is truly a spiritual trip for me, and I was excited (and nervous) to participate. [Given the negative press sweat lodges received after those people died last year, I was a little unsure of what I had said “yes” to — but as you’ll read, it was just fine.] Yesterday, Paula, Pedro and I set up the fire in the afternoon, and the ceremony to do so was truly beautiful. Though it was Native American – it had all the same elements we used in setting up our Reiki sacred wheel at the Labyrinth this weekend, which was really cool. (when you stop to think about it, there’s so much similarity between traditions and religion/spirituality — why do we fight so much?!?) We made offerings to the 4 compass directions (N,S,E,W) as well as to the sky and the earth, and our spirit centers. The fire is set up quite deliberately, using wood and lava stones. I could go into detail, but I’m not sure I remember it all. I just remember thinking it was beautiful – nothing like a bonfire. There was structure and reason behind almost every placement. Then this morning I got up at 5am, and we went to the fire at 5:30am, where Paula and Pedro had been working on getting it going since about 4am. Apparently, the fire wanted to wait for me to arrive (which was cool), because it didn’t really start going until I got there. Then it went blazing fast, and actually told us it was ready by kicking out (not kidding) a piece of the wood so we could see the glowing stones inside. Truly cool. Another brief ceremony was held outside the lodge, where we offered our individual prayers, both to the Universe, and then again to small pinches of tobacco (to be smoked later). We went into the lodge – there were only 4 of us, which made it SO much better – and took our places. As the first set of stones (7) were brought in, and placed in the same 7 directions I mentioned previously, we sat in silence. Then the lodge was closed, and the drumming and singing began. (I believe Pedro follows Lakota (sp?) tradition.) Water was poured ceremoniously over the stones to get the steam going, and the whole lodge was warmed and pitch black, other than a faint glow on the stones….after some time, the “door” was opened, and another 5 stones were brought in. More singing, more water, more prayers. Then another opening and 4 more stones were brought in….which brought us to the place of communion with Source (God, Divine Spirit, Highest Guidance…choose a name – it’s all the same). We each got a turn to ask Source a question, and he responded through the Medicine Man (Pedro) via his guide (in this case, Eagle Thunder, of the Thunder Nation.) All of the songs and drumming were deliberate. Though I can’t remember now the order of things – I just know that we were specific in how things were done, in order to honor our ancestors/relations, the spirit world, and the Universe, etc. etc. Now, here were my impressions…. At first, when the flap closed, I thought, “there is NO way I will be able to do this, at all.” I felt claustrophobic, fear, suffocating. The heat is intense, and I couldn’t imagine what it would be like with a full lodge of people. I was very grateful that there were only 4 of us. I loved the ceremony of everything, and the singing and drumming was amazing, and moving. I did my best to stay in the present, and I worked with the Reiki symbols to keep myself protected. (of course, Pedro had protected us throughout, using prayers and song – so it wasn’t a worry.) My fear was really just based on the oppressive darkness. I know I have some claustrophobia issues, but this was overwhelming. I don’t think we truly experience darkness anymore. There always seems to be some ambient light somewhere – even from the moon or stars. So, it was challenging, but I worked through it, and actually bargained with myself that I would leave at the next opening (leaving means you cannot return, though). Then, all of a sudden, it was time for a break, and to bring in the 2nd set of stones. And I was pleased that I had gotten that far, and thought I could go on. I worked with Pedro at the break, using EFT, to cancel the claustrophobia, and it worked. Plus, I was also told it was ok to lie down, and get my face, at least, into the cooler air. So, that was good. Additionally, Pedro taught me that you can ask for relief, without leaving the lodge by saying: “to all my relations, please open a door.” And it works! Every time I said it, there would be a tiny breeze around my face – even though no door had opened. Weird, but cool. So, the 2nd stage was all singing and chanting, and it was similar to the 1st, but I felt a lot better about it. Then the door opened again, and it was time for the final round of stones. This was the magical stage…..this was the part where we got to talk with Source. And it was amazing. I can’t speak for anyone else there – but for me, it was validating and humbling. I was given confirmation of who I am, what I do, and my path in this lifetime. I was given symbols, and images that were things I had seen in the past, or had been analogous to what I had seen. I cried, and I laughed, and I smiled from absolute purity of love. I also spoke from my spirit, which felt beautiful, and honest. It was wonderful. I had been skeptical up until that point – but there was no way for Pedro to “know” what he was saying to me. I only met him yesterday. I was no longer skeptical. I feel truly blessed today. I am so grateful. After the third round and everyone having their turn of talking, we released the spirits and closed the circuit. Then we sang and drummed some more, and finally, opened the door for the last time. At this point, we prepared the ceremonial pipes, and we passed them around to smoke the tobacco we had blessed earlier. I had some trepidation here, because I don’t like to be around tobacco at all anymore – but it was really pleasant, and I didn’t have to inhale anything – so that was good. Once we finished, we all exited the lodge in a circular way – and it was done. All in all, it was 3 1/2 hours – though it honestly felt like 60-90 minutes. So…..though I am not sure I will do one again, I am grateful I did this one. If I were to do one again, it would have to be similar, in terms of space and size. Apparently they can be quite large, with lots and lots of people, where you sit with your knees pulled into your chest the entire time. Yeah – that’s not for me. Lying on the earth, and feeling the drumming in my heart was beautiful. With more people there, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. So….that was the experience. Pretty cool, huh? Hugs, love and light, Martina www.synthesislifecoaching.com www.synthesislifecoaching.blogspot.com

‘Leggo my E-go’

What is the Ego? And why is there so much fuss about it among the health and wellness folks? Is it really such a villain? I’ve read many different authors and spoken to lots of different teachers and guides about this exact subject, and I still don’t have a totally concrete answer. But I think I’ve been able to sort through it all and distill it down to a more simple truth: Ego is the absence of Spirit.

Now what does that really mean? Does it mean that if you have an ego, and act from a place of ego, that you’re not spiritual? Nope – we’re all spiritual. We’re all souls at the heart of our essence. Ego is the personality of the body, expressing itself on earth, and disregarding the true essence of our souls: Divine Energy.

A lot of what I’ve read suggests that in order to live a fulfilling life, the two are mutually exclusive and cannot co-exist. In fact, many of the people I consider to be mentors advise letting go of ego entirely. It’s what’s worked for them. And it works for millions of people worldwide. I’m quite sure the Dalai Lama has let go of his ego. But boy, is that a difficult thing to do. I’ve been struggling with it myself for years now – but I think the struggle is over. Why? Because I’m accepting that I don’t need to let go of my ego; I need to acknowledge it. I need to honor it, acknowledge it and accept it. And in validating its presence, it will no longer hold sway over my life – which, actually, is a form of letting go.

Let me explain: my ego – our egos – have protected us. They have served a purpose, and they have taught us well. They have shielded us from harm, and allowed us to make decisions that put us directly in harm’s way, in order to learn what we need to learn in this lifetime. Our egos have helped us to create the building blocks we need in order to grow and awaken to our true essence. Without them, we would be wandering aimlessly on a path that we didn’t know existed, and in a state of ignorance that may or may not be bliss. Here’s the catch, though: Our egos, once they’ve served their purpose and we’ve learned their role, no longer serve us. Once we’re at a point where we are awake enough to move forward without their protective layers and filters, we need to shed them like a snake skin we’ve outgrown. And that’s ok. It’s healthy. But when something has helped you, do you choose to work really hard to ignore it, toss it aside, and pretend it didn’t exist, until you get to a point where it doesn’t exist? Or, do you choose, instead, to honor it, thank it, and allow it to move on all on its own, naturally, and peacefully? Again, it’s a choice. I admit, I initially chose the former – at times begging the Universe to release me from my ego. It didn’t work. Why would it?

Instead, I now see the simplicity of releasing it through love, and honor. Validating its role in my life, and thanking it for keeping me safe and bringing me my lessons to get me this far. Now that I am more awake, I can take it from here. In a way, I realize that I need to treat my ego like an old friend – a faithful old friend – not a villain. Many authors/teachers may disagree with me, but that’s fine. This is my experience – perhaps it’s yours too. For me, the ego only becomes a “villain” in our lives when we allow it to, by giving it the power to distract us from our true essence.

So, while there are many perspectives on the ego’s role in our lives, I’ve added one more to the mix. I still agree and accept that the ego, by definition, is the absence of Spirit. However, I don’t like vilifying it to the extent that we create an urgency to relinquish it. The ego has been a helpful partner, and needs to be dealt with as such. But as everything has its time – it’s ok to part ways, even with the most helpful of partners. In fact, parting ways is a sign of true progress and growth, because it symbolizes a return to our essence, our spirit. With that return comes humility, grace and peace. All blessings, if you ask me. And without the ego distracting us from our purpose, these blessings have even more room to grow and flourish.

So, thank your old friend. Offer it your gratitude for keeping you safe and bringing you your lessons, and allow it to go peacefully, happy in knowing it served its purpose. By loving your ego, you will set it free. Then you will truly know what it is to live in Spirit – as your Divine self – open to your life’s purpose.

In Love & Light,

Martina

Judgment or Opinion?

So – when does an opinion become a judgment? I was asked this recently, and I admit I was a bit stumped on how best to express and define the difference. In many instances, there seems to be a very fine line between two things that can suddenly flip to the other side. However, in this instance, I see more of a vast grey-ness teeming with subjectivity: a no-man’s land of hurt feelings, resentment and anger. It’s a virtual wasteland of thought and miscommunication. But why?

For me, personally, I know when I am “judging” someone or something, and when I am expressing an opinion. The judging brings with it a feeling inside of ugliness, and I find myself immediately (and often silently) apologizing to the Universe for having judged another. I don’t like how it feels, but it’s an old habit that is taking its time to die off, no matter how conscious I am. [I am doing my best every day to change it, and I can say I have made a lot of progress over the years, for which I am grateful.]

However, when I am expressing an opinion about something, it carries none of the ugliness that judgment does. It feels clean, pure, and somewhat liberating – both to be with people who are open to hearing opinions, and the sense of freedom I feel from being confident in my thoughts and ideas and the subsequent expression of them. I enjoy hearing other people’s opinions about myriad topics, and I enjoy engaging in discussions about varying opinions. I feel that it’s healthy, constructive and fosters a sense of community and growth that is sometimes hard to come by.

The opposite is true for judgments. Not only do I feel ugly and immediately apologetic when I find myself judging others, but when I am surrounded by other people who are readily passing judgment I feel somewhat contaminated by association. I feel a little bit more disheartened and weak. I feel a little bit more hopeless, and I may go as far as to say I actually “feel” less.

I believe that many of us readily express judgments when we intend to share an opinion. So, what’s the real difference? It bears thinking about. Because this topic seems to be highly individual and subjective, this week I’m tossing the question to you – in a sort of poll. When does opinion become judgment? And for that matter, what is the main difference between the two? Is it entirely individual and subjective, or are there points that can be objectively identified?

To submit your responses, please click on the “comment” link below, where you can leave comments – anonymously if you prefer. I am REALLY looking forward to hearing what you have to say. In the meantime,

Sending you Love and Light,

Martina

Seeing and Believing

“Seeing isn’t believing; Believing is seeing.” (‘The Santa Clause’) Or was it the other way around? Regardless, what it means is that in order to truly see something, you have to believe in it first. You have to give it the energy it requires to come to fruition and manifest in your life.

As an example, have you ever noticed that when you’re interested in a certain color, car, handbag, or type of food – you suddenly start seeing it everywhere? This is the same dynamic. Now, here’s the chicken/egg question: are you seeing it everywhere because you’re simply more attuned to it? Or are you seeing it everywhere, because you’ve given it energy and invited it into your life? Is your glass half full or half empty? You get to choose the answer.

If you believe something is in your life, because you gave it energy to be there, then you will see it that way. If you believe something is in your life, simply because you’re more aware of your surroundings – then that’s your answer. There will always be people on both sides of the fence on this. The fact is – when we believe something to be possible, it becomes possible. We’ve given it the energy and validation it needs to exist. It’s that simple. Not only does it become possible; but with clarity of thought, intention and energy, it becomes more and more probable. How exciting is that? Now, something to remember is that this works both ways. Just as giving energy to “positive” things in our lives helps those things to manifest and come to fruition, it also works when we focus on more “negative” things as well. If you believe someone to be passive-aggressive, for example, they will be – and in your experience of them, they will become more and more so as you continue to hold that belief.

As a result, the question needs to be asked: How do we manage our thought patterns? And can we actually “control” our thoughts? Well, there are a lot of opinions on this – so I’m going to suggest that the opinion that counts is yours. Today. Can you control your thoughts? I can’t. Not yet, at least. But I can influence them in certain directions – that’s what I call “managing our thought patterns.” It’s a bit like positive reinforcement. As we manage our thoughts (and reinforce the ones that bring love, life, prosperity and serenity into our lives) we become more attuned to that type of thinking. It takes time, and practice, but it’s well worth the effort. So, the next time you say something like, “it’s just my darn luck!” or “this always happens to me,” think about what you’re inviting into your life. If you’re saying it in response to getting a table at your favorite restaurant without any wait – great! However, if you’re saying it because you stepped in a puddle that was deeper than you thought, perhaps you should take note of what you’re creating in your world.

We create what we experience. Sometimes it manifests quickly, sometimes it takes lifetimes. Everything we are today is the result of something we created in the past. How awesome is that?!? It means that everything we will be tomorrow, we can influence and help create today. Let me also say, though, that everything as it exists today is perfect. It’s all as it’s meant to be, and unfolding as it’s meant to unfold. Even when it’s messy and bumpy, like the leaking bark of a spruce. Hard truth to swallow sometimes (trust me, I know), but true nonetheless.

So, to reinforce the beauty of that truth, while you work on creating your magical tomorrows, here is a little validation you can post on your bathroom mirror:

I am everything I need to be at this moment in time;

I have everything I need to “be” at this moment in time;

I am complete.

Define “complete” as you like. For me, it’s a word that brings a feeling of freedom and peace. Ahhh…….. May you be complete.

In Love and Light,

Martina