Monthly Archives: August 2010

What’s your Mt. Everest?

Many of you know that this past week I have made a major life change. For those of you that don’t, here’s what’s going on. I have decided, in conjunction with my health care advisors, to get myself off sugar. I say it that way, because – for me – it truly is a drug of choice. I love (!) coca-cola. Coke is my weakness. It always has been. It’s one of those things that I gravitate toward when I’m feeling good, bad, sad, happy, or anything at all. It’s both an emotional eating device and an everyday food. Now, I thought I drank it within reason – 1 or 2 cokes a day – but that doesn’t make a difference. I could have had 6 a day or half of one, and it would have been the same. My body simply doesn’t tolerate refined sugar well, and it has been fighting me on this for years and years. Finally, last week, I decided to listen.

Although I haven’t experienced ‘major‘ problems from consuming too much sugar throughout my lifetime, they were horrible enough for me. Infections, IBS, and a weakened immune system finally got the better of me, and I could not ignore it anymore. Sugar, it seems, is toxic to my body. Perhaps in small doses, and in its natural state, I would be fine. But in order to get to that place of moderation, I have to walk through the tunnel of detox and cravings. It’s not a pretty tunnel, I assure you. As such, the past 5 days have been spent in bed, on the couch, and generally wandering around my house. Some days were better than others. Some nights I didn’t sleep, other days I slept all day. My heart rate spiked and I had skipped beats, but I also slept soundly when I was sleeping and finally got rid of the severely painful headache that started on day one. It has been a roller coaster, to say the least. A ride I don’t ever want to take again.

The realization that I was actually addicted to sugar came on Day Two – when I turned to my husband and said, “I feel like I’m going through some sort of prolonged withdrawal.” He’s an Addiction Psychiatrist, so he understood immediately. I was grateful. He has been super supportive and has removed much of the sugar from the house, including all my beloved Cokes. And I’m glad he did, because my determination definitely waivered at points. It still does. It’s a process.

So, where does Mt. Everest come in? Well, during my conversation with Tom, my doc, when we were discussing this idea before beginning it, I realized that although we were on the same page, he seemingly thought of it as somewhat ‘easy’ to change something that would actually be quite difficult for me. If it were easy, wouldn’t I have done it years ago? Then, in explaining myself, out popped the words, “Tom, this is my Mt. Everest,” and I, too, suddenly realized the profundity and accuracy of that statement.

We each have our own Mt. Everest. Indeed, we each have our own Himalayas, Alps or Rockies, etc. For me, handling a medical crisis is easy, for myriad reasons. I also quit smoking and drinking at the same time, with no cravings or issues, many years ago. Quitting sugar is quite a different story. My body is physically and chemically addicted to it. I have always been a ‘sweets’ person – salty does nothing for me. I can walk by a bag of chips without blinking an eye. Walking by a cupcake, however, always triggers feelings of desire and salivation. The ad campaign, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?” Yeah – I could have written that about a whole host of things. Sugar, Coke and sweets in particular, are my Mt. Everest. They are my greatest challenge, and I have avoided climbing them for years. Decades even. I have had physical symptoms sending me warning flares, but I ignored them. My thought process was, “as long as I don’t have diabetes, I’m fine.” What?!? Seriously, I was willing to wait until I had a life-threatening diagnosis before actually changing my behavior. That’s crazy! Or is it?

In talking with so many friends and family members this week, I realize that it’s not crazy. Many of us wander around through life, knowing that there is a giant mountain lurking in the distance, whatever it may represent, and we simply choose to look at the ground instead. But here’s the catch. In looking at the ground in order to divert our attention from the monolith beside us, we are missing all the other beautiful things around us that require us to look up and out.

We miss the birds in the sky and the beauty of puffy white clouds. We don’t see the forest OR the trees, but only the pine needles and leaves they have dropped. We miss architecture and air. We miss over half of our world. And that’s what it’s like living in deliberate ignorance: living a half-life.

So, I ask you: What’s your Mt. Everest? Or Rockies, Himalayas, Alps, foothills, etc.? What are you busy ignoring in order to live the way you’ve been living, and not face the challenge of making a change because it will hurt too much or you’re scared? It can be as small as an anthill, or as large as K2 – it doesn’t matter. As long as you are living in avoidance of the challenge, you are only partially living, and you are denying yourself and the world around you the brilliance of who you are.

Do I think giving up sugar will suddenly make me a little brighter? Yes. Actually, I do. I’ve already seen it happen. When I went to the grocery store yesterday I connected with people on a different level. I received a lot of smiles and warmth from strangers, as well as cooking advice. I was keenly aware that I was being viewed in a different light. Perhaps my aura was brighter, or maybe I just looked tired and I was getting sympathy. Either way, the results were undeniable. I’ll never say this has been easy, and I know I’m still in the tunnel working my way through to the other end, but today, the fifth day, I will say that I am glad I made the decision to lift my eyes and look at the mountain beside me, because in its own way, it’s very beautiful.

In love and light,

Martina

Drama Major

I had a conversation recently with Tom, my holistic doc/chiropractor – I think I’ve mentioned him before. He is awesome! Anyhow, we were talking about drama and crises, living with both and their affect on the choices we make. More specifically, we were talking about me, my life, my drama and all the crises I’ve been involved in or that have occurred around me during my lifetime – and it’s fair to say, I’ve had quite a few for my years.

The question was how to deal with, diffuse and (hopefully) prevent drama in our lives. Tom has a friend with whom he was also discussing this topic recently, and the friend suggested that drama is a necessary part of being human. Indeed, it’s partially what makes us human. From drama (crises) we learn to relate to others, to show compassion, and to care and grow within ourselves. So, I agree. Drama is a necessity; however, chronic drama is not.

Here’s where I’m going to make the distinction: A crisis is, by its nature, dramatic. That kind of ‘drama’ is necessary, because it provides us with the aforementioned lessons and will always regulate itself eventually. The problem comes in when we turn the regular (necessary) drama into a way of life that’s unhealthy. For me, handling a medical crisis is fairly easy, perhaps because I’ve had a fair amount of them to deal with in my lifetime. It’s whether I convert them into unnecessary drama that matters.

Unfortunately, I made a lot of the crises and ‘non-dramatic’ situations in my life more dramatic in order to fulfill the scripted lines of my own story. I was the girl who would stay up until 5am in college, because someone needed to talk. I had no boundaries, and I offered myself freely. (I was good in a crisis, remember?) So, if I didn’t sleep or got sick, it was all part of the equation. It was part of my story, my identity.

This is a story I’ve created, over time (lifetimes?), for various reasons. All of which remain somewhat subconscious. Obviously, what I didn’t know at the time was that all the extra emotional baggage I was creating was unnecessary. All I knew was that I felt needed, alive and viable. Drama, for me, was a way to define my worth and my reason for taking up space on the planet. It’s no surprise I was a Drama Major – I just didn’t realize I was getting my degree in lessons outside of academia!

Which brings us to today and my recent conversation with Tom. He’s working very hard to help me eliminate drama from my life, or at least recognize it for what it is. Ever aware that crises happen over which we have no control, it is a choice to turn that single event into a Three Act play. In this scenario then, it’s being aware of the pattern that matters most.

But how can you be aware of something you’re not aware of? It’s kind of like ‘you don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it.’ Right? Well, there are two ways. One: hopefully you have a friend, family member or healthcare professional who is there to help you see the repeating patterns in your life, and provide you with guidance, support and proper care. Or two: you begin to get tired of always having the same things happen to you, always getting the same results, and you begin to question it and see the patterns yourself. Either way, awareness of these repeating patterns provides us with the opportunity to change. From there, anything is possible.

Soul Mates

Years ago – ok, 13 years ago – I was talking with a friend of my mom’s who was guiding me on some ‘life’ questions I had, and during the conversation, I said, “I want to meet my soul mate.” Her wry response? “Are you sure?” “Yes – why wouldn’t I be?!?”

Here’s what I thought: I thought that you meet your soul mate, you get married, and you live happily ever after. And I guess, in looking at the BIG picture that’s totally true. But in the day-to-day of it all, well, it sometimes feels like a cruel joke. Why? Because our true soul mates are the people who are meant to bring us our greatest lessons. Which means they bring us our biggest challenges and force us to look in the mirror at who we are, where we are and how we are. They reflect back to us all our immeasurable beauty, as well as all of our greatest defects.

It goes on. Each soul usually has more than one soul mate. It all depends on where you are in your life when you meet the one that crosses your path whether you’re ready to face the litany of lessons you agreed to bring to each other. This, of course, does not mean that it gets easier with another soul mate if you choose to leave the one you’re with – in fact, quite the reverse. It compounds the lessons you have chosen to learn in this lifetime. Hence my support for the idea: “work, don’t walk.” But I digress.

For me, I know I have married one of my soul mates in this lifetime. He has brought me more opportunities for growth, understanding and love than I ever expected, or believed I could handle. It has not been easy, but I asked for it. I clearly stated to the Universe that I was ready, and to bring it on! And boy did they ever! And I’ve never been more grateful. Despite the challenges and lessons, I am now able to look at the bigger picture and see the absolute perfection of being with my soul mate. It has allowed me to become who I am. The conscious awareness of that statement is not lost on me. It’s profound. Because I took the step to be with my soul mate, and not run away when things got tough, I have given myself the opportunity to return to my natural state of being: which is love.

Now you might be saying, ‘That’s nice, Martina, but what does all this mean for me?’ Here’s my thought on that: I’ve spoken with tons of people over the years who are searching for happiness in another person. They have said, “I want to find my soul mate,” because they feel certain that their soul mate will complete them and bring them happiness. In many respects, that’s true. But not without doing the work themselves. Our soul mate doesn’t complete us by being half of a whole. Our soul mate completes us by creating opportunities for us to become whole ourselves.

Unfortunately, all too often we find the work to be too difficult, painful or otherwise challenging, and so we walk away. We say, “it wasn’t meant to be.” But that’s just it – it WAS meant to be. It was meant to be, because it was an opportunity for you to return to your natural state of being. It was an opportunity to find that happiness and wholeness inside yourself and not in another person. Our soul mates simply help us get back to the work. They remind us to get back on the path in order to find that joy in who we are. But when we’re hurting it’s not always easy to see it that way – and we often project our fears and pain onto the one person who is actually there to help us the most.

So, what happens when you run into another soul mate during this lifetime while you’re still with one? Nothing. Nothing has to happen, because there are always agreements in place to honor one another’s path. Besides, who says a relationship with a soul mate needs to be romantic? It’s the relationship that matters. Why can’t it be siblings or a friendship? A friendship still allows for the great discoveries and growth to occur, albeit in a different capacity than we usually think about when referring to ‘soul mates.’ Moreover, the fact that you may have, and meet, more than one soul mate in a lifetime does not diminish any current relationship. It’s just about looking at things in the big picture, in order to understand the smaller things a little bit better.

Now when someone says to me, “I’m ready to find my soul mate,” I pause, smile and say, “I’m so happy for you,” — because everything changes from here.

In Love and Light,

Martina

Accidents Happen . . .

Today I super glued my fingers together. It was an accident, of course. The tube just exploded the instant I punctured it. Contacts under pressure, indeed. The point is, it was an accident. Accidents happen. Life happens. It’s how we react and what we choose to do about them that matters. And just as there is an ‘antidote’ of sorts to fix the super glue fiasco (nail polish remover, actually), there are antidotes to life’s ‘accidents.’ Alternatively, the super glue bottle also advises that regular hand washing over the course of a few days will also remove the hardened substance from my fingertips. Ahh yes. The tincture of time.

Time is one of those oft forgotten remedies to almost all of life’s challenges. “Time heals all wounds.” Eventually yes it does – if we allow it to. What do I mean by that? Let me give you an example:

If you have a cut on your leg and everyday you open it up, for whatever reason, and re-experience the pain and suffering of that wound, it will not heal – even with time. Why? Because you are choosing to open the wound each day and re-injure yourself. Even if the original injury was an accident, the subsequent actions are choices. If, however, you treated the wound initially with love and care, and accepted it for what it was – an accident – time will eventually heal it. Why? Because you made the choice to allow that to happen. Sometimes we want something to be fixed so badly that we cause repeated injury by messing with it, rather than allowing it to take its course. In the end, we prolong the healing that is destined to take place. Hopefully, we learn from that experience and make a different choice the next time.

Now this is not to say that we can’t be proactive about our lives and our health. We can be. Sitting back and waiting for time to fix something is also a choice. It’s what we do – the actions we take – while waiting for time to pass that matters.

For instance, back to my fingers. I recognized it was an accident, and I took the immediate necessary steps to fix as much as I could. I found some ‘goof off’ and managed to remove about 70% of the hardened glue. But I also had a commitment – a job to do – so at some point, I stopped. I chose to return to my work and allow for time (and water) to take care of the remainder of the glue. As such, I feel accomplished, empowered and content with the outcome of the accident. I’m not resentful or stressed. I’m accepting and aware. And I am allowing for the remainder to resolve itself naturally. This has allowed me to continue what I was doing – honoring myself and my responsibilities – and feel positive about it.

So once again, it comes down to choice, acceptance and allowing. When we choose how we are going to respond to something, instead of having an emotional reaction, we are in a better place to be empowered to accept things in the situation and allow for the possibility of a positive outcome. How awesome is that?

In Love and Light,

Martina

Accidents Happen . . .

Today I super glued my fingers together. It was an accident, of course. The tube just exploded the instant I punctured it. Contacts under pressure, indeed. The point is, it was an accident. Accidents happen. Life happens. It’s how we react and what we choose to do about them that matters. And just as there is an ‘antidote’ of sorts to fix the super glue fiasco (nail polish remover, actually), there are antidotes to life’s ‘accidents.’ Alternatively, the super glue bottle also advises that regular hand washing over the course of a few days will also remove the hardened substance from my fingertips. Ahh yes. The tincture of time.

Time is one of those oft forgotten remedies to almost all of life’s challenges. “Time heals all wounds.” Eventually yes it does – if we allow it to. What do I mean by that? Let me give you an example:

If you have a cut on your leg and everyday you open it up, for whatever reason, and re-experience the pain and suffering of that wound, it will not heal – even with time. Why? Because you are choosing to open the wound each day and re-injure yourself. Even if the original injury was an accident, the subsequent actions are choices. If, however, you treated the wound initially with love and care, and accepted it for what it was – an accident – time will eventually heal it. Why? Because you made the choice to allow that to happen. Sometimes we want something to be fixed so badly that we cause repeated injury by messing with it, rather than allowing it to take its course. In the end, we prolong the healing that is destined to take place. Hopefully, we learn from that experience and make a different choice the next time.

Now this is not to say that we can’t be proactive about our lives and our health. We can be. Sitting back and waiting for time to fix something is also a choice. It’s what we do – the actions we take – while waiting for time to pass that matters.

For instance, back to my fingers. I recognized it was an accident, and I took the immediate necessary steps to fix as much as I could. I found some ‘goof off’ and managed to remove about 70% of the hardened glue. But I also had a commitment – a job to do – so at some point, I stopped. I chose to return to my work and allow for time (and water) to take care of the remainder of the glue. As such, I feel accomplished, empowered and content with the outcome of the accident. I’m not resentful or stressed . I’m accepting and aware. And I am allowing for the remainder to resolve itself naturally. This has allowed me to continue what I was doing – honoring myself and my responsibilities – and feel positive about it.

So once again, it comes down to choice, acceptance and allowing. When we choose how we are going to respond to something, instead of having an emotional reaction, we are in a better place to be empowered to accept things in the situation and allow for the possibility of a positive outcome. How awesome is that?

In Love and Light,

Martina

Manifesting…Powerful Tool? Or Gimmick?

There has been so much information shared about the power of manifestation in recent years that I thought I would toss my two cents into the ring. To begin with there is ‘The Secret’ – made popular by Oprah Winfrey, but there is also ‘Ask and it is Given’ by Esther and Jerry Hicks. These are the two mainstream works that come to mind when I think of manifestation – and there is a difference between them. While ‘The Secret’ focuses on the process by which you manifest things (mostly material things) into your life, ‘Ask and it is Given’ divides its focuses between the process and the allowing for the manifestation to occur. For that reason, I agree more with the latter. But, it’s still not enough. Why?

Because it all depends on your intention, actually. If the intention behind your manifesting is that of desperation and desire, there is an urgency in your thought process that carries with it a hint of self-defeating prophecy. It carries the energy of ‘lack.’ As a result, the Universe feels the ‘lack’ in your request and provides you with it. It’s like when someone says, “It’s just my luck.” Yes, it is – because you asked for it. Manifestation, in my opinion, is 50% asking, 50% allowing and 100% intention and purity of thought. Yes, I know that adds up to 200% – but bear with me.

The 100% I suggest simply implies that behind the asking and the allowing, you need to have purity of thought and intention. If you ask for something, but believe somewhere inside that it’s not yours to have, you’re not worthy, or it won’t happen – then there’s no point in asking. Likewise, if you ask for something with purity of intention, but in allowing it to come to fruition you sit in a place of skepticism and doubt – it won’t happen. That’s why, although it seems so easy, we have been somewhat misguided. Manifestation actually begins with modification: the modification of our thought patterns and belief systems.

So, my suggestion is to start small. Work with the idea of manifesting by choosing things in your life that you know (truly know) are possible and plausible. And allow the Universe to comply. Without the doubt, skepticism and negative beliefs, you will begin to see the power of this incredible tool. Then, gradually, as you believe, you will be able to manifest more and more into your life.

As a side note, tomorrow (Monday, August 9th) is a New Moon. It’s an opportunity for cleansing and creating. New beginnings are possible. Perhaps it’s time for a new belief system? Such as “I am worthy of all beauty, abundance and prosperity the Universe has to offer.” (And the Universe is limitless!)

Whatever you choose to do, the bottom line is: Intention Matters. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. It matters much more now than ever before as we enter into a new age. That also means that it’s more powerful than ever before. So, make the choice to live life from a place of love and compassion, from a place of selflessness and understanding, and from a place of abundance in all things; and the Universe will comply.

In Love and Light,

Martina

If this, then that…

Why is it that we’ve been programmed to delay happiness? Think about it for a second. Do you have the thought pattern anywhere ingrained in you that says: “If I do/acquire/reach a certain thing/level – I will then be happy.” Replace ‘happy’ with content, peaceful, complete – any number of words – it’s the same idea regardless. But here’s the thing: with this thought pattern, we are actually preventing our own happiness. We’re in effect saying that we’re not worthy of happiness (peace, etc.) without first suffering through something or proving our worth. As a result, we’re denying ourselves permission to be happy. WHAT?!?

Don’t worry – I do it too. Why? Because I’m human. It’s part of the human condition – or conditioning. It’s a game we play with ourselves. A game of merit and self-worth. A game of success and failure. A game with too many unwritten rules. And a game where the world is the playing field, and everyone is on a different team. Furthermore, it’s something that will never change, and that we can never win. The only way to “fix” it is to remove it entirely by stepping off the field. Now, I’m not saying it’s time to die. I’m saying it’s time to acknowledge the game going on all around us, and in us, and simply decide to stop playing. It’s easier said than done, you say? Yes. And no.

Yes, everything is easier said than done. When our friends, family and colleagues are able to point things out to us, it’s because they have the perspective with which to do so. They’re not as close to the problem as we are; therefore, it’s much easier for them to see it, which is why we seek advice, help and encouragement from others. But that doesn’t mean that they will follow the same advice if they were in a similar situation. Again, they would be too close to the issue to have the perspective that makes a solution easy. Or easier.

But no, it’s not easier said than done – because I’m going to give you an idea that will help you step off the playing field, take off your jersey and step into your happiness. Once planted, this idea will begin to grow, and little by little you will start to accept and realize its truth. Here it is:

If the assumption is there will never be a perfect time, then we have nothing to lose by claiming our happiness now. The premise of the idea “if this, then that” is based on the notion that we are waiting for the ‘perfect’ time in order to realize something in our lives. We need all of our ducks to be in a row before we feel we can move on to the next thing. However, it goes further by also suggesting that there is no ‘perfect’ time, therefore that ‘something’ we desire will always be out of reach. Do you see? If there will never be a perfect time to own what’s already ours – then why not own it now? Inevitably “no perfect time” becomes perfect.

Of course, reality steps in on certain things like, you might need to have a job in order to buy a house (or a vacation home in the Greek Isles!); but what I’m saying is that the house won’t bring you happiness. The house won’t bring you stability. The house is not the issue. Nor is the job. They are steps towards creating an environment in which you “think” you would be happier. But nothing external actually creates happiness. Happiness comes from within. A house, a car, a job, a relationship, these are all things that can come and go – and if we pin our dreams and happiness on them, then that means our happiness can come and go as well. Why would we ever choose that?

Instead, opt for a different choice, a different way of living. Waiting to be happy by virtue of an external stimulus means you will spend a lifetime waiting. I guarantee once you’ve reached the desired goal, there will always be something else looming in the distance, and because it’s a conditioned behavior, you will once more fall into the pattern of “if this, then that.” Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series said it best when he said to Harry, as he was sitting in front of the Mirror of Erised, “The happiest man on earth would … see himself exactly as he is.” (And did you all notice that Erised is ‘desire’ spelled backwards?)

So, in considering this concept: if you have nothing to lose – what would you endeavor to do?