Monthly Archives: September 2010

Faith and Belief

I recently had a conversation with a friend on Facebook that prompted my thinking about Faith and Belief. Although I was raised with a specific religion, and it influences who I am today, I don’t associate with it specifically. Instead, I have discovered the joy and purity of faith, regardless of religion. To have faith in something greater than yourself is one of the greatest gifts ever given. Why? Because it creates an awareness of possibility, and in possibility lies hope.

I remember when I was in college, my father taught me something very wise. And like so many other “young” people, I never appreciated the depth of his teaching until more recently. He said that it was in questioning our religion, all of it, that we were able to arrive at true faith. In other words, he didn’t believe that following something because you were told to was actually believing in it – but by questioning it, and raising your own awareness of it within your life and soul, you would arrive at a level of faith and belief that was pure and strong. Like I said, at the time, I didn’t get it – but I definitely know what he was talking about today.

For me, my faith is based in the knowledge – the true knowledge – that there is something greater at work in the Universe. That different religions and cultures give that “something” different names, but that, for me, in the end, it’s all the same. The differences are human-made. They are not Divinely-inspired. They were created in order to bring understanding to that which is not understandable, only knowable.

In this conversation with my friend, I shared my belief that faith is Divine like the soil under our feet; and religion is human, like fences placed in the soil to separate out the masses according to their beliefs. It doesn’t change the soil. The soil remains the same.

So – what is faith? Well, faith is knowing. It’s not about understanding, reconciling, looking or searching. Faith is knowing. Whether given the name “God,” “Allah,” “Mother Nature” or anything else – faith is knowing that ‘it’ exists. That’s all. How you choose to honor that knowing is about religion and beliefs. So, now I’m going to share my word with you. I often refer to “the Universe” or “God” or “Mother Nature” in my writings – but recently, I’ve defined what ‘it’ is for me, and that’s: Divine Grace. For, when I tap in to Divine Grace, my life and spirit are filled with gratitude, compassion, light and love. And, in the end, that’s what it’s all about.

In Love and Light,

Base Camp: The beginning of everything.

In following up on last week’s idea of ‘your own Mt. Everest,’ I thought it was time to break down the climb into stages, especially as I am living through them myself. Last week I told you all about my challenge: to give up sugar. This is my Mt. Everest. Or at least I thought it was, but it goes much further than that. My mountain is not just about giving up sugar, but rather it’s about re-learning how to live my life with regard to physical nourishment. This goes well beyond whether or not I consume sugar on a regular basis.

After sending out the post to my readers, I received a lot of support and encouragement, for which I am truly grateful. I also received the same message repeatedly, and I took notice. It was simple: moderation. This message came in various forms and words, but the end result was the same. So, I listened. Life, it seems, is about moderation. I think we all know this. I know I did. But I think we forget sometimes, and we throw ourselves out of balance. My giving up sugar was a way to attempt to restore balance, which had gone seriously awry over the past few months. Unfortunately, going to the opposite extreme was also out of balance for my body, and it let me know. I struggled through the detox, only to find myself incapable (seriously) of staying awake for more than a few hours at a time for the past few days. Even with all the good food and healthy choices, I simply had no energy, no desire and no motivation. This certainly wasn’t what I had expected.

I thought that by giving up sugar, I would hear angels sing, the heavens would part, and God, Himself, would come down and shake my hand. “Congratulations, Martina, all will be well, now!” Hahaha – oh how our minds work! It, of course, is not that easy.

Giving up sugar was a stepping stone toward realizing the true identity of the mountain itself. It was like reaching Base Camp – not the actual climb, but the first leg of something very important for me to do. It gave me the knowledge and awareness I needed to see the mountain more clearly and begin to understand what it actually represents. And I’m ok with that. After all, it’s about learning, discovering, remembering and moving forward with deliberate intention.

So, what happened with the sugar? Well, it wasn’t cravings that got me – it was my mind. I thought I would “test” myself to see if I still liked it. Yes, I truly thought that way. And yes, I still like sugar. I don’t, however, enjoy coke like I used to – so that’s really good news. And I’m actually quite content with that. I feel a bit like a failure, but again that’s my mind working me over, and I can quiet it down and focus on the positives that I am learning from this trek to my Base Camp. Moderation is the key, and it’s the word that I am focusing on at this point.

I have learned that it’s simply not possible to one day wake up and decide to climb Mt. Everest and then go do it. It requires thought, preparation and planning, all of which need to be looked at through the eyes of moderation. The “all or nothing” mentality is a reason so many people fail when they attempt to make a change in their lives. I’m not saying it’s not a possibility and there aren’t times when it’s essential to someone’s survival; I’m saying that when you have the luxury of time and are facing a mountain, taking planned deliberate steps will result in greater success than simply running forward.

Sometimes (most of the time) it’s more than enough to simply point your toes and your nose in a new direction. Once there, a new realm of possibility begins to open up, and the motivation for change becomes stronger, making the actual steps forward easier and more in sync with your whole being. Just shifting direction raises enough awareness to begin something new. The key is to allow for enough time before charging forward to acclimatize your whole being to the new direction. That’s what the Base Camp is all about. The climbers know that if they don’t stop at the Base Camp and allow their bodies to adjust to the environment, the new direction, they will not achieve their goal of the summit. I know that I have reached Base Camp, and I can feel comfortable and confident in how far I have already traveled. How long I will be here I cannot say, but I would rather err on the side of time and reach my goal, than leave too early and miss the mark. Let the acclimatizing begin!

In love and light,