Monthly Archives: July 2010

Reflections on ‘Madame Bovary’

I recently watched the BBC-TV miniseries version of ‘Madame Bovary’ (2000) and found myself re-thinking my opinion of Emma Bovary. Years ago when I read (and heard about) ‘Madame Bovary,’ the focus of all the attention was on how scandalous she was. She was a woman who dreamt of a grander life than that which she was living. In order to fulfill part of her longing for something more, she had adulterous affairs that allowed her to escape the reality of her situation. She also spent money wildly, that she didn’t have, in order to fill that void deep within. She was never satisfied, always wanting more. More stimuli, more emotions, more feeling, more grandeur, more more more. Nothing would ever be enough. Was this the result of her dreams and childhood indulgences? Or could it have been the result of an inner struggle of self-love and acceptance? Or both?

This time, watching this miniseries, I found myself relating to her on a different level. For me, it was no longer about the scandalous romantic affairs she had, or the shame she brought to her house, husband and life. Today I watched the portrayal of Emma Bovary with compassion and understanding. She was a woman who didn’t love herself. She was someone who needed the approval and engagement of others in order to feel self worth. She was, in a word, lost.

Emma Bovary is a great example of what has happened to much of our society over the past decades. We have come to a place where we are constantly searching for more, for external approval and for greater degrees of stimulation. We have become numb to what was once considered good, and now long for things that are thought of as incredible. We consume beyond our means, and we are feeling the effects of that life of indulgence today. The question remains, however, what prompted this behavior in the first place? Are we a society that has no love of self? Are we lost?

I won’t presume to answer those questions. I’m just me and can only speak for myself. I know, firsthand, what it feels like to be lost. And I related fully with Emma’s desire for more. Halle Berry gave an award-winning performance of a woman who wanted “to feel” in ‘Monster’s Ball.’ And while her performance was raw and bold, I remember speaking to many people shortly thereafter who said they could relate to her emotions – though perhaps not as thoroughly as she portrayed them. So – what is it that keeps us searching, consuming and longing for that which we don’t have? From my experience, it’s the fear of looking at ourselves fully and learning the depth of our denial. It’s when that veil comes down that we finally see what we’re feeling, deep within. It’s what Emma Bovary saw in the final scenes of the miniseries.

Her desperation to maintain the façade she had created was palpable. She shared with us her raw emotions while pleading for assistance to save the identity she had created in order to feel viable and necessary in this world; in order to feel like she had any value at all. And that is what makes the story so tragic. Rather than looking at Madame Bovary as a scandalous villain, I now choose to see her as a victim of a lack of self-love. She felt no worth except in the eyes of others. She experienced little pleasure except through external actions and stimuli. Emma Bovary was uncomfortable in her own skin. In the end, that would be her undoing. When she finally had no other alternative but to be herself, she was unable to do so, and took her own life. Her tried and true methods of escape had finally failed her, and she was left with the only other means of escape she knew: death.

The message I now get from this masterpiece is the importance of self-love above all things. There will always be millions of reasons and methods of escape available to those who seek them: drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, internet, etc. Escape is easy; it’s living authentically that’s hard – until one day, when it’s not. And that’s the greatest lesson I have learned in this lifetime. Living authentically as who I am brings me more joy, peace, love and serenity than any escape ever could. I, therefore, send a wish to all the Emma Bovary’s out there, whether male or female, that they too can learn this lesson and embrace themselves fully with unconditional love and understanding.

In love and light,

Martina

Finding a Reset Button

I’m writing a book on finding a Pause button right now, and the research I am doing is fascinating. It’s definitely worthwhile to know how and when to hit “pause” in our lives. But what about actually starting over? What if we are in need of a reset button instead – then what?

I think finding a reset button usually comes after some sort of pause. In the pause we have a realization that things aren’t heading in the best direction. We also realize that the awareness of this fact isn’t enough to change directions. We actually need to stop, get off, and start over. We need a reset. But what does that look like?

Very few of us have the luxury of being able to truly stop everything we’re doing and run off somewhere to “find ourselves.” For those that do have that luxury – it’s usually self-created out of necessity. A necessity so compelling and great that I’m not sure many of us would actually want the ‘problem’ that prompted the running off to begin with. So, the rest of us find a smaller reset where we can. For this purpose, let’s call it a re-charge. Sometimes it’s in a daily walk, sometimes in a bubble bath. Sometimes we find our re-charge button in conversations with friends or family. And sometimes, we find it in a good book. All of these are excellent re-charge buttons. They serve a purpose of slowing us down and allowing us room to breathe, reflect and make different choices. They are usually deliberate in action (i.e. I am going to take a bubble bath), and they usually involve an element of planning. Now, what happens if we find a reset button we weren’t actively searching for or making deliberate decisions about? Then what?

This happened to me recently. I found a reset button that was dormant, hidden, and denied for a very long time. I think I found it easier to live not knowing it was there, than it would have been had I known all along how important it was in my life. How important it was to my inner happiness and peace. And then, while walking over cobblestones in a foreign land, I tripped and hit “reset.” Quite literally, I fell into my reset button, unknowingly and serendipitously. And the process began.

The reboot was initially slow in coming. I knew I felt something stirring in my soul. I knew the feeling was familiar, but distant. I knew I had been here before. I had questions, fears, concerns and worries – but tempering all of that, I had abundant joy and dancing in my heart. I felt pure bliss. And I never want to be without that feeling again.

On this path of mine, I have certainly found inner peace and joy. I know what it is to be grounded and flowing in tune with the Universe around me. But I had forgotten this last piece: I forgot what it felt like to be truly alive, present and experiencing the world around me from a human visceral perspective. I was truly in touch with my inner Divinity prior to this, and I thought that was enough. In fact, I was convinced it was more than enough, and I was prepared to live the rest of my life quite contentedly in that knowing. But the Universe had other things in store for me. They wanted to give me more joy, more love and more laughter. And being the stubborn mule I sometimes am, I didn’t allow them to show me these last few pieces of the puzzle. Instead, I plodded along, quite content in my path, and deliberately ignorant that there was still more. And then it happened.

I fell into a marble womb and allowed my body to be cared for by another human being – another soul. And I came alive. All of my physical senses were stimulated that evening. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. They were all experiencing something new. And when I emerged from this ritual – it truly was like being re-born. But this time, I was born with the knowledge of who I truly am, without forgetting it. I found a reset button.

Without searching for it, I stumbled into a new life. It’s a life where everything has a pulse, a scent, and a sound. It’s vibrant, alive, breathing and radiating into my very soul. It’s the essence of who I am, where I’ve come from, and everything in between. It’s the sum total of all my experiences, knowledge and emotions. And it’s simply, me.

So – whether you’re searching for a pause or a reset button, I invite you to take a few steps on uneven ground, and see what you stumble upon. Perhaps you’ll find something you’ve always known, or perhaps you’ll find something more. Either way, the walk is worth the trip.

In Love and Light,

Martina

Finding a Reset Button

I’m writing a book on finding a Pause button right now, and the research I am doing is fascinating. It’s definitely worthwhile to know how and when to hit “pause” in our lives. But what about actually starting over? What if we are in need of a reset button instead – then what?

I think finding a reset button usually comes after some sort of pause. In the pause we have a realization that things aren’t heading in the best direction. We also realize that the awareness of this fact isn’t enough to change directions. We actually need to stop, get off, and start over. We need a reset. But what does that look like?

Very few of us have the luxury of being able to truly stop everything we’re doing and run off somewhere to “find ourselves.” For those that do have that luxury – it’s usually self-created out of necessity. A necessity so compelling and great that I’m not sure many of us would actually want the ‘problem’ that prompted the running off to begin with. So, the rest of us find a smaller reset where we can. For this purpose, let’s call it a re-charge. Sometimes it’s in a daily walk, sometimes in a bubble bath. Sometimes we find our re-charge button in conversations with friends or family. And sometimes, we find it in a good book. All of these are excellent re-charge buttons. They serve a purpose of slowing us down and allowing us room to breathe, reflect and make different choices. They are usually deliberate in action (i.e. I am going to take a bubble bath), and they usually involve an element of planning. Now, what happens if we find a reset button we weren’t actively searching for or making deliberate decisions about? Then what?

This happened to me recently. I found a reset button that was dormant, hidden, and denied for a very long time. I think I found it easier to live not knowing it was there, than it would have been had I known all along how important it was in my life. How important it was to my inner happiness and peace. And then, while walking over cobblestones in a foreign land, I tripped and hit “reset.” Quite literally, I fell into my reset button, unknowingly and serendipitously. And the process began.

The reboot was initially slow in coming. I knew I felt something stirring in my soul. I knew the feeling was familiar, but distant. I knew I had been here before. I had questions, fears, concerns and worries – but tempering all of that, I had abundant joy and dancing in my heart. I felt pure bliss. And I never want to be without that feeling again.

On this path of mine, I have certainly found inner peace and joy. I know what it is to be grounded and flowing in tune with the Universe around me. But I had forgotten this last piece. I forgot what it felt like to be truly alive, present and experiencing the world around me from a human visceral perspective. I was truly in touch with my inner Divinity prior to this, and I thought that was enough. In fact, I was convinced it was more than enough, and I was prepared to live the rest of my life quite contentedly in that knowing. But the Universe had other things in store for me. They wanted to give me more joy, more love and more laughter. And being the stubborn mule I sometimes am, I didn’t allow them to show me these last few pieces of the puzzle. Instead, I plodded along, quite content in my path, and ignorant that there was still more. And then it happened.

I fell into a marble womb and allowed my body to be cared for by another human being – another soul. And I came alive. All of my physical senses were stimulated that evening. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. They were all experiencing something new. And when I emerged from this ritual – it truly was like being re-born. But this time, I was born with the knowledge of who I truly am, without forgetting it. I found a reset button.

Without searching for it, I stumbled into a new life. It’s a life where everything has a pulse, a scent, and a sound. It’s vibrant, alive, breathing and radiating into my very soul. It’s the essence of who I am, where I’ve come from, and everything in between. It’s the sum total of all my experiences, knowledge and emotions. And it’s simply, me.

So – whether you’re searching for a pause or a reset button, I invite you to take a few steps on uneven ground, and see what you stumble upon. Perhaps you’ll find something you’ve always known, or perhaps you’ll find something more. Either way, the walk is worth the trip.

In Love and Light,

Martina