Monthly Archives: October 2010

Strength

Strength is not courage nor is it the absence of fear. Rather, strength is a willingness to feel weak and still make the decision to move forward with integrity.

There is a softness about strength. It is not found within determination. Instead it is in the knowing that at any moment everything can change. The strongest are able to bend, flow and move with grace like webs on the wind. The weakest are the most fixed. Stable in appearance, but weakened by their lack of flexibility.

What does all this mean? It means that I am strong, because I know myself to be otherwise. I know that anything – everything – changes without warning, and that I can choose to bend or stand firm. My strength is found in my weaknesses: compassion, understanding, sympathy, empathy. Without them, I would be steel. With them, I am the co-creator of my life…allowing the wind to carry me, always knowing that I get to choose how long to make my web.

Today was a challenging day. Tonight was even more difficult. The morning began with a difficult conversation that tested my resolve to stand firm, and the evening ended with an emotional conversation that had me bending and swaying like a palm tree in a hurricane. In the morning, I chose to find strength by allowing more flexibility into a precious decision. In the evening, though my emotions were carrying me this way and that, I chose to find the strength that comes with expressing myself honestly and openly, by stating my needs and creating boundaries.

So, in the end — what is strength?…. We know it when we see it in others, yet we rarely recognize it in ourselves. And therein lies the answer.

Peace.

Letting Go

Two nights ago I was channel surfing and I stumbled upon something I’ve never watched before. It was Joel Osteen’s program. At first I was going to keep switching, but something he said caught my attention. His sermon was on moving mountains, but the point at which I joined him he had just said something that stuck with me. So I listened. It wasn’t necessarily new to me. In fact, it’s similar to other ‘teachers’ I’ve read, and things I’ve taught clients of my own. But it was new words, and I liked them.

He said: “Let there be light,” as he was quoting from the Bible. But what he said afterward is what made all the difference. He went on to explain that the use of the word “let” implied that there was an opposing force already in existence. As an example, he said, “let go of my hand” implies that your hand is currently being held or restrained. Therefore, “let there be light,” means that there was darkness, through which light was needed. And instead of asking for light, God directed it to appear. As Joel said, he ‘commanded’ it. So, here’s the deal:

What if we used the word ‘Let’ more often in our lives – but with conscious thought? There’s a great Christmas song called “Let there be peace on earth.” A great idea indeed! But what if we invoked the power of that word for smaller, everyday things? Wouldn’t that, couldn’t that, collectively create peace on earth? Here are some of my suggestions, what would yours be?

Let me speak with love and grace today to everyone I meet.
Let compassion be my guiding star.
Let me choose healthy foods, just for today.
Let others share their light with the world.
Let acceptance be the driving force in interactions.
Let me share my experience and strength with others.
Let me be open to receiving the wisdom of others.
Let gratitude fill my every thought.
Let there be joy in my heart and a smile on my face.
Let me be myself, who I am, now and always.
And finally. . .
Let God.

The last one is quite possibly the most simple and the most powerful. There’s a saying many of you might be familiar with: “Let go and Let God.” Sometimes, it truly is that simple. We can pray for what we want or need, but without handing it over to God (the Universe, Divine Grace, etc.) we are not allowing our needs to be met. As with everything, it is a two-step process: 1) focusing thought, and 2) letting go. So, with my list above, I focused my thought and energy on things I think would make me, my community, my country and the earth a happier more peaceful place. But in the end, I’ve only taken the first step. The second step is to actually let those thoughts go. If you think of it this way: as long as you are holding on to the thought of what you want, you are not allowing the space for it to become reality. Do you see how that works?

If your hands and heart are full of the “idea” of something, there is no room for that something to become physically real.

Why? Because it’s trapped in the energy of being a thought, nothing more. It’s when we let go of the thought, that it finally has the opportunity to become reality. And God (the Universe, Divine Grace, etc.) has the opportunity to do their part by making it real, or better.

So, “let” is a powerful word indeed. But its true power is unleashed when we use it as it was intended: by invoking its power, and then allowing it the freedom and space to realize its potential. What would you ask for today? And are you willing to then let it go?

In Love and Light,
Martina

One word

This week I want to share something with you that I found particularly interesting. I have been reading Laura Munson’s book “This is Not the Story You Think It Is…” and toward the beginning (actually in the 2nd chapter) there is this amazing excerpt that Laura shares with us. Perhaps you’ve heard of it before. Indeed it’s fairly reminiscent of a through-line in ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (perhaps both ladies read the same author – I don’t know). What I do know is I want to share it with you now, as well as Laura’s thoughts and words leading up to the excerpt. From Laura:

“And then I remember an excerpt from a book that has seen me through hard times before. It’s called The Cloud of Unknowing. In it, an anonymous fourteenth-century Christian mystic writer asks us to choose a word. One word. And to fasten it to our hearts. That word, working in us, will bring us through the hardest times. Or so the anonymous writer promises. In my life, that word has been many things. God, love, hope, truth, joy, grace, beauty, wonder, surrender, freedom. Right now it is more simple than any of those things. It is not a deity or a goal or a state of being. It’s an action verb. It is simply: breathe.”

And here is the excerpt:

“Take just a little word of one syllable rather than two . . . Such a one is the word God or the word love. Choose which you prefer . . . and fasten this word to your heart so that whatever happens it will never go away. This word is to be your shield and your spear, whether you are riding in peace or in war. With this word you are to beat upon the cloud and the darkness above and beneath you. With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought, driving it down into a pool of forgetting. If any thought should press upon you, asking what you would have, answer with no word but this one. If your thoughts should offer, out of their great learning to analyze your word for you and tell you its meanings, say to your thoughts that you want to keep it whole . . . It is not a matter of analyzing or elucidating . . . No one can truly think of God. It is therefore my wish to leave everything that I can think and choose for my love the thing that I cannot think. God can be loved but not thought. He can be taken and held by love, but not by thought.”

For me, this is one of the most poignant and simple things I’ve read in a while. I have to admit, I have not yet read ‘Eat, Pray, Love,” but I did see the movie, and I spent the following few days thinking of my word. And then I picked up Laura’s book (which is a must-read), and the same suggestion was laid before me to ponder. And I urgently thought, “What IS my word?” “Do I even have a word?” “Am I a failure if I can’t come up with a word? One word?” Geesh!

The problem was I couldn’t come up with just one. I had several, actually, that felt ‘right’ for me. So – how could I choose? Was it: faith, light, peace, authenticity, or truth? What was my word? You probably know from previous writings that I refer to God in many ways, as God encompasses so much for me. So, I tried “God” on for size – and I still felt like I couldn’t settle on one word. And yet the author was so clear. One word. One one-syllable word. That’s all. How was I going to do this? And then I realized something. It wasn’t about the ONE word. It was about the act of making a decision, and holding it. For me, what mattered more than the word was making a choice. And once I settled down, stepped away from my mind and allowed myself the room to choose – you know what happened? I chose Me. I’m not sure it gets simpler than that. Me.

Some of you may think that odd – but it’s the most authentic, loving, peaceful, happy, light and divine word I can come up with. By choosing “me” and fastening myself to my heart – I have chosen to step into my own power. I have chosen to honor who I am as an expression of something Divine. And I have chosen to feel the freedom that comes with making such a decision.

In the end, it became much simpler than I was making it. There are so many words I could have chosen along the way to help me through difficult times. But they would be transient words, ever-changing in the face of challenges. The one word that would never change is simply Me. And for that realization I can honestly say I am incredibly grateful. Thank you, Laura. Thank you, Liz. And thank you anonymous Christian mystic for prompting me to make the choice.

In love and light,
Martina