Category Archives: blessings

Showered by Grace

What is it about Grace that we can have a thousand different definitions, from a thousand different people, and yet somehow we can all be saying the same thing?

For me, writing my piece for 365 Moments of Grace became an exercise in gratitude. When I began, I was unsure where my words would take me, but I was certain that wherever I ended up I would feel better for it, and I did. Before submitting my work to the book, I vetted it with a couple of friends. What I found interesting was that one of my friends’ replies went something like this: “Oh, honey, I am so sorry…”

I was startled by her words, because I had felt only gratitude for my experience in the shower. Even then, as it was happening, I felt grateful for the peace it brought me. I think that’s because it was fueled by Grace. Grace transformed my despair into something greater.

“Grace is a power that comes in and transforms a moment to something better.”
–Carolyn Myss

So, without further ado, for those of you who have not purchased the book yet, I would like to share my Moment of Grace with you here, knowing that there are 364 more stories within its pages that are similar, and yet wholly distinct. This magical book is filled with over 250 voices sharing their stories of Moments of Grace, all saying something different, and yet, somehow, all saying something similar.

Finally, as I geared up for the book’s launch, I tried to describe and define Grace for a friend. I wrote: Sometimes Grace is that still small point of breath, where nothing is needed and everything is possible.

grace

I’d amend it today to say that what’s needed, in fact, is Grace, though it’s rarely ever identified. In our deepest moments of despair we rarely have the ability to ask for what we truly need. And in those moments when Grace is needed most – it always seems to show up.

xoxo


 

Showered by Grace
by Martina E. Faulkner

Years ago, as I started my journey through the refiner’s fire, I was brought to my knees at a most inopportune time: I was in the middle of my morning shower.

While lathering up my hair, I found myself overwhelmed by grief, pain, and tears. My journey of shedding layers of imperceptible veneers had begun, and it was painful. Unexpectedly, with a mountain of bubbles on my head, I fell to my knees, sobbing.

Crumpled on the shower floor, with water pouring over my skin but not cleansing any part of me, I couldn’t utter a word. I silently wailed as my tears mixed with the stream of soap and water from above. I could barely breathe. Immobilized, I watched in awe as my hands reached up.

Like a child drawing on a foggy winter window, my fingers knew what to do when I had lost any semblance of presence in myself. They wrote on the shower wall:

Help.

A single word inscribed in the mist was my call for assistance.

The effort it took humbled me further. As the water began to cool, with the bubbles all but gone and my shoulders hunched forward in a semi-fetal position, I felt a calm fall over me.

My mind began to settle as my heart returned to a steady rhythm. My tears, though still flowing were a gentle trickle instead of a torrent. As I started breathing more deeply and steadily, I noticed my pain had eased.

My cry – my plea for help – had resulted in a warm embrace in the most unlikely of places. Mixed with the water from the shower, my tears had become diluted, free to flow out and away from me. I felt held.

I still use the shower wall to send messages to what I now refer to as my spiritual team. Whether they are messages of gratitude or renewed requests for assistance, there’s a knowing that comes almost instantly the moment my fingers begin to glide across the steamy glass.

©2016 Martina E. Faulkner

showered by grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

P.S. Fore more information on 365 Moments of Grace, or to order your own copy, click here

Check out a few other co-author blogs about the book using these links for yesterday, today, and tomorrow:

July 4: Julia Van Der Sluys and Lore Raymond
July 5: Julie Jones
July 6: Catherine M LaubMarva Collins-Bush and Nicole Levac

Acceptance Is The Key

This past week I’ve been soul-searching a bit, as I meandered through the last few days of the online workshop I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It’s been an interesting process, to say the least.

On the one hand, I was prompted – quite literally – to explore certain topics, approaches, and ideas behind what it means to be authentic and show up in your marketing. And on the other hand, I was unknowingly moved into a space of mental and emotional decluttering during the process. Needless to say, both were rather exhausting.

Now that I’m on the back-end of it all, I can see the benefits of having done the exercise. Not only do I have a better understanding of just how much real estate I was giving to things that didn’t necessarily deserve it, I also got to explore some of my own internal belief systems and cross-check them against my values and inner alignment, which is something I talk about in my book, What if..?

In my opinion it’s critically important that we take this sort of inventory every so often in our lives. Like cleaning out your closet or your pantry, you never know what’s lurking in the corner that is past its “use by” date if you don’t take a good look. This workshop required me to take a good look and it resulted in some A-ha! moments as well as some visibility hangovers and shame spirals.

The upside is that I am now much better equipped to deal with all of these things, because of all the work I have done. Whereas a few short years ago I could have found any of these things to be somewhat debilitating, now they are a blessing. It’s a reminder that there is more freedom at the end of the process – and that is always a good thing.

So, what happens next? Well, as in all things, I am taking the time to integrate what I learned, what I let go of, and what it means for how I move forward. Interestingly, I have been listening to a Katy Perry song of late (somewhat obsessively, on repeat) and there’s this line that keeps jumping out at me and replaying in my head:

Acceptance is the key

I’ve been reminded, once again, that acceptance is key to moving forward. This is not an acceptance of outdated items shoved into the dark recesses of our internal cupboard, which allows us to continue to ignore them – that’s resignation, or even complacency. Rather, it’s an acceptance of the need to regularly undergo experiences that compel us to explore the cupboard, to choose change, growth, and sometimes discomfort, in pursuit of freedom.

Let It Be a Blessing (new ideas for decluttering)

Last month I attended a spiritual/energy workshop in which the instructor repeatedly referred to her “collections” of items, such as books and craft supplies. Since it was a spiritual workshop, I have to admit I was somewhat surprised to hear about the extent of her collections. For some reason, I had come to believe that the spiritual path was devoid of clutter! The general belief I held went something like this:

Spiritual awakening is a process of divesting oneself of the physical in order to be 100% in touch with the Divine.

Umm…what?!? No. That’s death, not awakening. I know I don’t believe that. However, I can see how that belief had come to exist, because I think we all hear it every day from countless places (it doesn’t have to be a spiritual guru).

Until I heard a spiritual teacher admit to owning thousands of books, I didn’t fully realize how pervasive that story was in my environment. Messages like:

We have too much stuff, and we have to get rid of it.
Live simply. Pare down.
Clear out. Declutter.

But why?

The conversation in my head prompted me to truly explore my beliefs about clutter and possessions. It has forced me to look at my own life and make new decisions about old things. Here’s what I now know:

Things are things. They’re not memories. They’re things. The memory of something is held inside you – not in the porcelain of the dish on your dresser. (The dish may be the trigger that prompts you to access the memory, but it’s not the memory itself.)

That being said, it’s also true that things are more than just things. Here’s what I mean: Some “things” are more meaningful than other “things.” And therein lies the key to deciding what to keep and what to release.

It occurred to me that the teacher’s collections bring her joy. Her “things” add value to her life by giving her hobbies and allowing her to create art and beauty. The value is not in the monetary equivalence of her library, it’s in the joy she imparts when she talks about the books she has read and owns. Her collections are not an accumulation of “things,” but rather they are a curated assortment of items that have brought her joy, knowledge, experience, and connection.

So, instead of looking at our belongings as clutter, what if we looked at each item and assessed its energetic value in our life? We do so by asking this question:

Does this item add value to my life, does it bring me joy?

If it does, then great! Use it, enjoy it, and take care of it. If it doesn’t, then it may be time to let it go.

Energetically speaking, every item in your home carries an invisible mark. The mark is the emotional energy the object carries. That mark speaks to you each time you see the item. For example, if you bought a handbag or wallet because you received a bonus at work it will carry a different energy than if you bought the same item when you were in debt, mad at someone, and/or did a bit of retail therapy. The energy is there. The key is to assess the energetic value of the item and make a decision on whether it stays or goes.

And, to help you with the releasing, let me share with you a phrase a friend of mine gave me years ago when I was cleaning out my overflowing closet:

“Let it be a blessing to someone else.”

There are people for whom that guilt-laden item would be like winning the lottery. Let it be a blessing for them.

Champions at Heart

“You don’t need a man, Liz. You need a champion.” – Eat, Pray, Love

I always liked that line, because it hits me. Right there. You know the place: That space between your heart and your throat where you can physically feel your dreams? Yeah, there. But why?

Let’s pause to look at this for a moment, because it’s actually true. We each need a champion. First, let’s define “champion.”photo 1

Among other things, a champion is a “warrior or fighter” according to Merriam-Webster. It’s also a verb: to champion means “to protect or fight for.” Let’s explore the latter, because although Javier Bardem uses the noun in the movie, I believe his true intention (or sub-dialogue) was the meaning behind the verb. So let’s go there!

When we’re children, we seem to have champions all around us. Sometimes it’s our friends or our parents. Sometimes it’s our teachers or siblings. It’s people who hold us up, hold us accountable, teach and lead us. They are there for us when things get stormy as well as when things are calm and sunny. At face value, champions are the “winners.” Looking deeper, champions are those wonderful individuals who value and respect us as individuals ourselves and who inspire us to be our best self, without asking anything in return.

Usually, I would say that all we need is to be our own champion. We do. However, it’s not “all” we need. We need each other, and we each need a champion: That one person in our life, at that one moment, who supports and protects us – who holds us up (or helps us up) when we need it most. It’s the person who makes us laugh or lets us cry – without judgment or expectation – because they know it’s what we need at that moment. It may not be the same person every time. In fact, it probably isn’t.

I know who my champions are, even though they’d probably hate that title. 😉 They’re the ones who help me to be who I am every day, by supporting, challenging and encouraging me to show up for myself. Sometimes I forget they’re there though, and then I’m reminded by something seemingly small. Perhaps something so small that they don’t realize that they just donned a cape for me and became my champion in that one moment, and it made all the difference.

So, today – it’s a simple reminder to say thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful “champions” out there holding us up, helping us out, laughing with us, and reminding us of who we are, and what we can become. Perhaps, too, it’s a reminder that maybe we’re also wearing a cape for someone and don’t even know it. How wonderful!

In the end, I think that’s why that line hits me: Feeling supported and loved is an amazing gift; Feeling championed? That’s love on a whole new level.

Friends

Friend [frend] –noun; 1) a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; 2) a person who gives assistance; patron; supporter; 3) a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile.

Yikes – “a person who is not hostile.” Really? I don’t think I’d include that in my definition of the word friend. Would you? But it’s a question that is worth asking. How do you define a friend?

We have so many friends in our lives that fill myriad roles. There are those that we can call when we want to go out for all-night dancing, and those that we call when we want to chill in a coffee shop or living room for hours discussing the many facets of our lives and the lives of others. There are even those who we simply like to jog or bike with. And then there’s everything in between. There’s a saying I think many of you are familiar with: People come into our lives for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime.

Our friends can pretty much be categorized in this way. Some are always in our lives, others come and go, as they are needed – or we are needed. And still others are passing through our lives like trains in a station. And the best thing is – it’s always perfect.

I was recently reminded of the perfection of friendship, and I am filled with gratitude for this loving reminder. In high school and college I referred to my friends as my family. And just like families, relationships grow, change and evolve over time. Nobody is in the same place at the same time, especially as we grow older. When we’re younger, we’re pretty much going through many of the rites of passage together. But as we get older our challenges and experiences become more varied. We may not always understand one another as well as we once did – and that can, at times, feel disheartening. But it’s natural (and perfect) in its own emotional complexity. The beauty of friendship – and having friends with different backgrounds and experiences – is that we almost always have someone to call on for the different events in our life, which is the greatest blessing. And often times, we don’t even need to pick up the phone, because our friends know when to reach out to us when we need them. How great is that!?

Now here’s a question: How good of a friend are you to yourself? Do you regularly sit down with yourself and chill in a coffee house, or go biking, or go dancing? What about calling on yourself as your own best friend in times of despair or difficulty, or celebrating with yourself when you’ve achieved something? I know many of us don’t do this on a regular basis. We don’t make “dates” with our Self. I also know many of us don’t know how to do this, because we haven’t necessarily been taught that we can be our own friend. A “friend” is, by definition, “another person” – someone else.

But I’d like to challenge that idea. I would like everyone to take a look at themselves today, whether passing by a store window or looking in the mirror, and when you do I’d like you to say hello to your closest confidante, your bosom buddy – your new best friend. Why? Because there are times in our lives when we need to know that we can truly be alone, truly rely on ourselves, and truly be alright just as we are.

Friends are a blessing. They are a gift in our lives – one that can be nurtured, cultivated, and treasured. And, if we are blessed, we will always have our friends with us in one way or another. But sometimes life doesn’t go as we planned, and it is also a blessing to know that you can be your own best friend. That you can take a walk alone in the woods, or sit in a movie theatre or coffee shop by yourself, and know that you are with the best company in the world: you.

As I mentioned, this week I was reminded of the blessings of friendship, and I am so grateful. In writing this, I had planned only to discuss the gift of that reminder; but I detoured, and was also reminded of the joy of knowing that I am also my own friend. The peace and comfort that comes with that realization is immeasurable. So, I’ve received two huge reminders this week – and I share them now with you. My wish for you is that you will always be surrounded by your friends, you will always be open to new friendships, and your list of friends always includes You.

In Love and Light,

Martina