Category Archives: change

A Return to Authentic Joy

Over the last few weeks I’ve been focusing heavily on the roles Hope and Fear play in our lives on a daily basis. In light of world events, it seemed to be a topic I needed to address. It’s not enough, however, to talk about Hope. Though it’s important, it’s equally as important to discuss Joy. And frankly, we all could use a bit more joy these days, don’t you think? But how do we find our joy? What does that even look like?

One of the primary issues my clients come to me with is a feeling that they’ve lost their way. They wake up one morning, usually later in life, and say, “How did I get here?” or “What’s this all for?”

It’s a bit like an existential crisis – though over the years I’ve narrowed it down to more of a lack of authentic joy. As a result, one of the early questions I ask clients who are expressing this need is:

“When you were five years old, what brought you joy? What made you belly laugh?”

This question not only serves to create a language and discussion around joy, but it reminds them that they know what joy feels like, and that they once experienced it effortlessly.

In a recent example, I had a client whose answer was simply: “My dog,” which, in a panic, she immediately followed with: “But I don’t want to have a dog right now!”

I reassured her, “Don’t worry – you won’t have to go get a dog to rekindle your authentic joy.”

After talking through her experience of having a dog at 5 years of age, and why it was the first thing she thought of when asked about joy, we uncovered what the dog represented for her, which turned out to be:

  • play
  • unconditional love
  • companionship

This client was single, had great friendships and relationships with others, but felt she was missing the elements that she thought would allow her to play, feel free to be herself, and share that joy with someone else.

Once we identified this as the path back to adding more joy into her life, we could then work out how, when, and why these things were important – as well as how she could incorporate these various aspects in her life.

As children, we laugh freely, love openly, and live joyously. Our lives are mostly well-cared for by someone else, which allows us to be ourselves more completely. As adults, the reverse is true. Not only do we feel that we often need to “be” something other than what we are, we also spend a lot of time managing things for others. As a result, we can feel disconnected from ourselves, and from authentic joy.

In my experience, the path back to authentic joy involves these steps:

  1. Remembering what brings us true unabated joy,
  2. Understanding what it represents,
  3. Seeking it in a new way, and
  4. Adding it back into our lives.

This is the recipe I have developed for returning to a more joyful state of being. For me personally, it looks like having music playing throughout my day (I like to sing), making time to reconnect with friends near and far, and prioritizing time in nature. What does it look like for you? :)

Resistance, Obstacles, and Making Sense of the Senseless

Last week, in light of the recent tragedies and violence in the US and abroad, I wrote a bonus blog and recorded a video on how we make sense of the senseless. The bottom line, for me, was that we stop trying. It’s virtually impossible to make sense of something that goes against our very nature. Trying to attribute rational thinking to such a problem becomes an endless cycle of frustration, grief, and disconnection.

What we can do, instead, is work to heal the root cause of the senseless actions of others. In this instance, I believe that all violence has its origins in the low-vibration energy of Fear, and fear is taught. Therefore, if we wish to combat senseless violence, we must teach Hope. Hope is a high-vibration energy that directly counteracts fear. (To learn more, you can read the rest of the blog here, or if you prefer, you can watch the video.)

Then, this past weekend, I stumbled across this video by Mingyur Rinpoche. I admit that I clicked on it because of the title, “I’m too lazy to meditate,” because I am too lazy to meditate. Well, I’m not sure if “lazy” is the right word –  but you get what I mean.

In the first few moments of the video, he gives the basic answer that I gave to dealing with the senseless violence: Stop trying. Or in the meditation example, stop fighting the laziness. When you stop pushing against that which is your obstacle, you give your obstacle the room it needs to fall away naturally.

I believe that the body and soul have a natural inclination to homeostasis. I also believe that all the obstacles we face in our lives are our soul’s journey through remembering who we are at our core, and each challenge brings us that much closer to the central truth. Therefore, if our natural inclination is to return to center, and the obstacles are there to assist us in doing just that, it makes sense that our job is to stop resisting the obstacle in order to allow it to teach us what we need so that it can fall away.

Did you catch that? Sometimes, it’s truly as simple as taking a step back and accepting that which we perceive to be in our way. It’s often this basic act of acknowledgment that allows the obstacle to go. 

In the case of being too lazy (tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, scared, etc.) to meditate, as Mingyur says, it’s about taking a step back, accepting the state you’re in, and reframing your perspective to welcome the obstacle into your life, which paradoxically, allows it to go.

I really enjoyed this video, and I hope you will too. I write often about how to create change in our lives, and how awareness and small consistent steps have the most lasting effect. This video describes just that, and for me, it’s perfectly timed. I have been frustrated with my lack of meditation and routine and itching to get back to it. However, my frustration has caused me to feel overwhelmed which has prompted me to not try. Yup – that’s what I said.

Mingyur’s video is a reminder to me that it’s not about trying or perfection, it’s about choice and presence. Five seconds of meditation is still 5 seconds, and five seconds repeatedly will add up and eventually lead to five minutes.

Whether it’s trying to make sense of the senseless, or feeling frustrated over the lack of a routine, it’s the resistance that keeps us stuck.

xoxo,
Martina

Resistance

Something Old – Something New

June is wedding season, so I thought I’d borrow an old adage in keeping with the times: Something Old – Something New.

“Something OLD” refers to a theme or message that I have shared for many years with my readers and my clients. It’s about belief systems and the various forms they can take in our lives. Often, we don’t realize that we are operating under unchecked belief systems as we make decisions or plans, but we are. It’s when we begin to raise our awareness to these ingrained patterns that we start to set ourselves free of the ones that are holding us back, and we align more deliberately with the ones that support who we are authentically.

Belief systems are not inherently bad. However, it’s the unexamined belief system that can be creating obstacles in your path without you realizing it. Last week, I explored one such belief system in a little bit more detail, which brings me to the “something new.”

“Something NEW” refers to a new format I am starting to embrace to help get my work more broadly into the world: video. Some of us learn better from reading, while others learn better from hearing or seeing, and I needed to honor this truth. I recently completed a marketing course, which I have referred to a couple times in recent weeks, in which I practiced the art of making video to share a message, idea, or topic. Trust me, this wasn’t easy for me – even though I was a drama major in college and spent most of my high school years on the stage. There’s something so immediate about video that makes it more intimate. So, it took some work for me to get to where I felt I was ready to show up and be seen in this manner. And I’m glad I did.

The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive. Most importantly, I heard exactly what I knew to be true: for many people it was “so much easier” to grasp the concept from watching a 3- or 5-minute video, than it was to read a blog or a chapter in my book. Furthermore, several people told me that the teaching sunk in without them realizing it, as they suddenly discovered that they were more aware of their thought and belief patterns over the days following watching my video. This is the best result I could hope for.

So, with that, I share both of these first videos with you now. I will most definitely be making more, so stay tuned. And if you want to remain in the loop, you can catch all my videos on Facebook, with little snippets being posted on Instagram. And, if you click the “see first” option on my Facebook page you’ll know every time something new appears. Soon enough, I suspect I will set up a YouTube channel to manage all of this content. For now, however, I am keeping it simple.

As for the videos themselves, they’re all about the stories we tell ourselves, and how that can either be a cause for positive change, or a source of self-detrimental behavior. You can watch them here:

Stories: Part 1 (What Happens When We Make Up Stories – and we all do)

Stories: Part 2 (The Genesis of Story)

Leading or Paving the Way Forward

Isn’t so much of life about reacting to something, rather than creating something anew?

They say there are no more original ideas. I don’t think that’s entirely true, but I think it’s mostly true. I read the words of poets that are hundreds of years old, and I hear their words echo through the ages in more contemporary authors. Several years ago, in a very vulnerable moment riddled with self-doubt, I once shared with someone who I consider to be part friend, part teacher, and part counselor that I didn’t think I had any hope of a future in writing or inspiring others. I told him I had nothing to contribute to the conversation about self-help that hadn’t already been said.

My friend wisely listened, and then told me this:

“It’s not what you’re saying that’s new – it’s how you’re saying it that’s unique to you.”

He went on to explain that someone out there needed to hear what I had to say in my words, my voice, in order to understand it and hear it for the first time, after not hearing it so many other ways.

I know this to be true, because every week I receive feedback from my readers reiterating what my friend had said so many years ago: They needed to hear what I wrote, and often felt it was written just for them.

This is why I do what I do – this is why I will always do what I do and honor who I am, my path, and my gifts, as they unfold and present themselves more boldly.

But what happens when I sit down to type and the words simply don’t flow?

Last week I wrote about my hope to live more fully aligned with all I am, including my spiritual gifts. I wrote about how easy (and deceptive) it was to play small, without realizing I was doing it. Then I sat down to write for this week, and I stared at a blank screen and an endlessly flashing cursor.

Where do I go from here?

I’m not sure. And that’s the simple truth of it all. There’s this thing called a “visibility hangover” that happens after you’ve put yourself more “out there.” As I’ve learned from my dear friend, Sarah, in her marketing course, after every expansion comes a natural contraction.

Frankly, I think that’s what’s happening this week for myriad reasons. I’m contracting, going within, to regroup, clarify, and clear out some mental and emotional clutter to make a bolder, more structured path forward.

So, I guess, for me, the answer to the blinking cursor is simply: write. Write anything. Just write. See what comes out. See where it leads you.

Sometimes you have to let the path lead you, rather than trying to pave it yourself.

IMG_4966

And that’s pretty much it for this week. Last week several of you were kind enough to tell me you were looking forward to watching, learning, and understanding how this “roadmap of greatness” I mentioned last week would unfold. I thank you. I am, too.

I think, in general, I’ve been hesitant to share too much of my journey as it is unfolding. I often write once I’ve understood, vetted, and embodied something for a while, desiring only to impart the knowledge I’ve gained along the way in the hope that it will help others.

And yet, here we are. Everything you’ve read in this blog post has been a complete surprise to me. It’s raw, real, and very much not vetted.

That being said, I think it’s ok, even good, to not always have understanding. Sometimes it’s important to share the process by which the understanding was obtained. Sometimes it’s important to let the path lead you forward, trusting that it will unfold as it’s meant to. I am doing just that.

The Powerlessness of Living Outside Yourself

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
– Alice Walker

I came across this quote the other day, and it struck me with how simple it is. At first I wanted to disagree, because I was thinking that people mostly give up their power by having too many externalized hopes and expectations. They live outside of themselves, through others.

This is a common trait in codependency: you define yourself and your world through or in relation to someone else. Your identity is based on anything but you. It’s a very powerless place to be.

But then I re-read the quote again, and I realized the reason why I wanted to push back against it:

It scared me to believe that people truly don’t think they have any power to begin with.

Really? Is this the most common reason for powerlessness? If so, that’s a truly shudder-producing thought indeed, and it prompts me to wonder how someone could get from being a child who believes in superheroes and possibility to an adult who believes they are powerless and at the mercy or whim of their environment or situation. How is this possible?

And yet….

And yet, I see it every day. The quote is, sadly, true.

In my work I have met with countless clients who have shown up to our first session having no sense of their own innate presence, let alone power. Our journey together is about helping them to rediscover their joys, their voice, their passions, and their Self – which, frankly, can all be lumped into the word: Power.

Powerlessness is debilitating. Somewhere between five years of age (when we’re running around barefoot in the grass knowing without doubt that anything is possible and imagining a world in which we can be everything we know we are in our hearts) and 25 years of age (when we believe everything is limited by situation, environment and others) we have lost our Power. We have lost our sense of Self; we have lost our knowing.

Somewhere in our 30s or 40s (if we’re lucky) we stumble across a feeling that reminds us we are powerful, if even for a moment, and that creates a longing to remember the days of our youth. I think that’s why many people experience a “mid-life crisis.” We are trying to recapture the expansive nature of our childhood: our innate Power within.

So, what would happen if those who have forgotten their Power actually started to realize that it’s there inside them, within their reach?

I’d argue that we’d have a slight period of discomfort during the shift as we all adjust to a new, more natural, paradigm, followed by true peace, joy, harmony, and love.

Because our individual Power is not about power over others; it’s about living in alignment with who we are, with respect and regard for everyone else doing the same. Life is no longer lived in competition (a construct of living externally), but it is lived in mutual growth, understanding, and support.

We each have a unique role to play in this world. Though we may strive to “be like” so-and-so, at the end of the day, that’s not who we are. It would be better to be inspired by so-and-so, and live more fully as who we each are. That is the true goal of life: to realize who you are, and step into that more fully each day. That is the definition of Power.

The beautiful thing is: as we each begin to take steps toward this truth, we encourage and allow others to do the same. The ripple effect is vast. Through being in our own Power, we empower others to do the same. And… there’s nothing more powerful than that.

Finding Your Reason Makes ALL the Difference

Toward the end of last year, I received the same advice (inspired message) from various sources, so I decided to take note. Sometimes, when the Universe is trying to tell you something and you aren’t hearing it, it wisely makes the decision to be repetitive until you take note.

Such was the case for me throughout much of November and December. What was the message?

Routine.

I needed to create routine in my life in order to be more in the flow, to be more inspired, and to accomplish all I have set out to do. And yet… routine? Really?

Previously I had subscribed to Paulo Coelho’s statement on routine:

“ If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal.”

Coelho-routine quoteAnd yet.

And yet… here was this repeated message, being shared with me from various trusted sources (think: colleagues, friends, mentors, doctors). There was truth in what they were saying, and I knew it. Routine, for me, wouldn’t be lethal, but the lack of routine certainly was proving otherwise.

It was lethal to my productivity, my ideas, my stability, and hence my innovation and creativity. A lack of routine made it harder for me to achieve my personal wellness goals as well.

So, as the new year approached, I muddled through the holidays trying to establish the baby steps of a routine. After about 2-3 weeks of trying and not exactly succeeding, I took stock. What was I missing? That’s when it occurred to me:

I had never been taught how to design, create, and establish a routine.

Now, for those of you who seem to know how to do this, this may seem like a weird conundrum, but it’s true. Not knowing the basics of establishing routines makes it actually quite difficult to get started.

Of course, the Type A side of me had an internal dialogue akin to the Nike slogan “Just do it,” but that wasn’t enough. My reply, invariably went something like this:

Honestly, if you think I could “just do it,” don’t you think I would have DONE it, by now?

So, I had to start from scratch through trial and error.

As it turns out, and as I’m learning (it’s an ongoing process), it’s really hard to establish a routine if you’re not actually invested in the reasons why or the activities themselves.

Duh.

I can look back on decades of schooling and say with 100% certainty that if I wasn’t interested in the topic, it was like pulling taffy to get me to do any work (I did the minimum). This is how I am. I know it, I work with it, and I embrace it. Because the reverse is also true: When I’m invested in something, you can be sure I will be all in. I just needed to find the right reason.

So, how do I get invested in something that I don’t fully understand, that I was never taught how to do, and that felt daunting and overwhelming from the word “go?”

I want to say: “Here’s how! Here’s the magic answer. Now, go forth and change your lives with this magic wand I created and/or stumbled upon.”

But it’s simply not the truth.

The truth is, I don’t have the answer. However, I do know what not to do, and that’s actually proving to be more than enough.

I know not to use the four diversionary tools I mentioned in my book to rationalize, justify, generalize, or explain/judge my way into excuses. I know that if I’m making excuses to NOT engage in a new behavior (one that I actually want to do), it’s because I believe (wrongly) that I’m more comfortable in my current state than I will be if I try to do something else. And that’s the basis of all change, isn’t it?

The argument between the seeming comfort of the status quo and the unknown discomfort of doing something different often creates a cycle of inactivity. The problem is, both are subjective and unknown. And when something is unknown it often leads to feelings of fear. And fear, I know for certain, is NOT how I choose to live my life, nor is it an energy with which I wish to align. Boom! I had my reason.

Just as I teach my clients, when you drill down past the surface level of any problem, you can usually arrive at a baseline of energy or emotion. Typically, the choice is fear or hope (many say love, but at that deep baseline, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, it’s actually hope). When we get down to that level, to the underlying energy behind our choices, we get to decide which energy is in alignment with who we are and our values. And, as it turns out, that awareness is often enough to propel ourselves forward into the unknown. In my case that meant doing something I was never taught, didn’t understand the value of, and had no investment in… until I did.

Resolving Resolutions

By now, we’ve had about 5 days for our New Year’s Resolutions to settle into our minds. How is that going? Have you been to the gym? Cleaned out your refrigerator? Started that novel? Written in your journal? Meditated daily?

Years ago I wrote a piece on the difference between New Year’s Resolutions and New YOU Resolutions. We often use milestones, such as birthdays, the start of the month or week, or the beginning of a new year to serve as the catalyst for change. Typically, however, a date on a calendar is not inciting enough to create lasting change. That has to come from within. It has to come from YOU.

Which brings me to the point of this week’s writing:

If your resolutions list isn’t in alignment with who you are and doesn’t come from within you, you are setting yourself up for failure before you begin.

Another way to say this is that expectations, as we know them, are based on who we are, and not who the other person (or situation) is. It’s an internal desire, imposed on an external person or thing. A recipe for disappointment, frustration, and suffering.

New Year’s Resolutions are the same in the reverse. Resolutions typically involve some external input or measurement that we then choose to impose on ourselves internally in much the same way we use expectations – only now it’s a mirror image.

In both instances we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. So, how do we set ourselves up for success?

The key to creating achievable results is to start with goals that come from within and are aligned with

who you are, not who you think you should be;
what you want, not what you think you should want; and
when you can do something, not when you think you should do something.

Externally-derived resolutions are exercises in will-power not pathways to change. Sometimes will-power can result in lasting change, but often times the reverse is true. And even if it does result in change, it typically involves feelings of frustration, deprivation, and lack. Not the most positively reinforcing experiences.

Change has to come from within. The strongest most long-lasting ember or catalyst is the one that burns deeply inside your soul, the one that emanates 100% from within you. Change derived from an internally-vetted desire has the greatest possibility for success.

So, now that you’ve had 5 days to try on your resolutions – and now that you have a new perspective on how to approach them – what are you going to change?

Is it really time for you to create a to-do list that makes you feel further away from your center, in pursuit of some externalized goal? Or is it, perhaps, time for you to create a road map that is in alignment with who you are inside, to honor your inner knowing and voice, and find strength, peace, wellness, and happiness from an internal place of Self.

One last thought: The beautiful thing about all of this is that you get to decide… every moment of every day. Change, growth, and alignment are not tied to a milestone on a calendar.

I’m not procrastinating… I’m moving energy!

I’m not procrastinating, I’m moving energy around!”

That was me last week after being away for 24 days, having an epiphany about my own manifesting snafu (you can read about it here), realigning to a deeper more centered power, and then standing in my bedroom feeling a little “off” as I looked around.

Immediately, I decided to completely rearrange my space. I moved everything, relocated artwork and rugs, furniture and decorations. I spent the better part of the day undoing and then redoing a space in which I spend less than 10 hours a day. Why?

Because after shifting the energy within me and realigning myself to the immensity of the Universe, my room felt stagnant. It, too, needed a shift. Everything had to feel new and vibrant again, just as I was feeling. Simply put: the energy needed to move. So I moved it!

It wasn’t until a friend emailed me in the midst of my endeavor and suggested I take a nice rest after my travels that I impulsively answered with this:

“Lol. I will. Starting tomorrow. In typical Martina fashion, I am rearranging my room today!!”

‘Typical Martina fashion’ is an acknowledgment of how moving furniture around is a trend in my life. But it’s only now, looking back, that I can see why I do this every so often, and why I need to:

I have to move things around to shift the energies in my environment and keep them flowing more and more. It’s like hitting a reset button every so often. The change it creates in the space is palpable, and I always feel better afterward.

Over the years though, I developed a negative self-talk about it. I had come to identify the exercise as a means of avoidance and procrastination. I usually moved the furniture around when I had something else going on that I didn’t want to pay attention to.

Now, all of a sudden hindsight and awareness afforded me the perspective to realize that all those times I had rearranged furniture in the past, I was probably doing so intuitively, to create more flow. To make what was old, new again. I was shifting the physical energy in my environment, to better support the shifting energies inside of me. 

So, even though I labeled it differently when I was 16, I wasn’t procrastinating, I was moving energy! (Well, perhaps except on the evenings before an exam. Lol!)

Anyhow, the bottom line is this: when manifesting or inviting something new or more possibility into your life, it’s important to look at all the places where you can create opportunities for more flow, or more vibrant flow. This includes your environment. Sometimes that means changing out a throw pillow for a new color. Sometimes it means moving every item within a room into a new layout. You get to decide.

For me, the night I shifted everything around was the best night of sleep I’ve had in a while. And with my bed in a new position, I now get to wake up looking at the trees out my window, which is possibly the best visual alarm clock in the world!

Happy shifting!

morning view

 

When the Teacher Becomes the Student

I have a belief: We are all teachers, and we are all students.

This was never more clear to me than in the past week when I was reminded of how I am always learning, even while I’m teaching… sometimes on the exact same thing.

So, what happened?

Well, for the past few weeks I have been on the first leg of my inaugural book tour for my new book What if..? How to Create the Life You Want Using the Power of Possibility. Over 24 days, I traveled up and down the eastern seaboard from CT to VA, meeting with media, conducting events, and speaking with individuals and organizations. I have been immersed in imparting the tools and theories I share in my book for creating the life you want through manifesting and authentic alignment. One aspect of this includes teaching others how important language is when using the law of attraction to create what you want.

And that’s where my learning opportunity came in: I had made my own mistake, and I didn’t see it.

During the past couple of years, as I have been focusing on the short- and long-term goals for my work, I have been using two very specific phrases to describe what I wish to happen. The first phrase was “grassroots,” which I used to describe how I envisioned my work unfolding and reaching a wider audience.

Well, have you ever seen grass grow? It’s not the fastest event on the planet. So, my using this phrase has actually set a nice SLOW and limiting process in motion, when what I really meant to say was “organically.” I would like my work and audience to grow organically – meaning, naturally, and without influence from anything fake. This seemed like an easy fix.

However, the other phrase gave me greater pause, because for the last 6+ years I have used it quite regularly, without realizing the limits I had set on myself.

Since 2009, the motto for my blog and coaching practice has always been:

“Changing the world, by changing lives, one person at a time.”

I believe this – I believe that we change the world by changing ourselves. I know this to be both possible and true. Over the years the core remained the same, though I have modified it slightly:

Changing the world, by changing lives, one word at a time.
Changing the world, by changing lives, one moment at a time.
Changing the world, by changing lives, one word, one moment, one person at a time.

That last version was the one I have been using most recently. But I am now changing it again. Here’s why:

I now realize that I have been limiting myself by using the phrases starting with “one.”

Even though I know that we create lasting communal and global change by starting with the individual, I see that I have limited the scope of my work by ostensibly saying: I only want to do this one thing at a time.

Therefore, the Universe’s ability to help me create my platform and reach a wider audience was restricted by my words. I asked, and they complied. As a result, some of my events these past 2 weeks have had only two or three people at them, instead of the projected 30-40, which dumbfounded me.

Naturally, I felt all the associated human emotions of failure, frustration, and doubt. I questioned whether what I was doing was right (don’t worry, I know it is), and exploring what I could have done better.

Gratefully, I always quickly circled back to something my colleague, José Stevens, shared with me, “even if it’s one person at your table, you offer them your mastery.” And I do, lovingly and joyfully. I know in my heart, and from years of experience, that the one person in front of me is the one that needs what I am offering, and I honor that. I am grateful for those opportunities and value them.

Simultaneously, it was frustrating to be on tour, have realistic expectations based on feedback for bigger gatherings, and have only “one” person show up. And yet, that was exactly what I had asked for… for years!

So, that’s where I found myself one afternoon last week as book tour was coming to a close. I meditated in my friend’s yard, grappling with my frustration and fear, as I stared at myself. With question marks swirling in my head, I suddenly realized what I had done:

I limited myself to “one person at a time” through my choice of words. Holy cow!

The minute I understood it, I sat in silence, awe, and humility. The teacher became the student in a nanosecond. I know the importance of words (heck, I teach this!), and yet I was blind to my own word choice.

On some level I suppose there was a sense of honor for me in the words I used. However, I also now recognize that they are out of alignment with my mission and path – with what I am called to do. Of course, it’s possible for me to go about my work one person/event/word at a time, but I think the earth is evolving faster than that, so I needed to get on board.

And I did.

In the end, it came down to reconciling my mission (changing the world by changing lives) with a limiting belief (“one person at a time”). Therefore, I have modified my phrase to something more clear, expansive, open, and fueled by possibility:

Changing the world, by changing lives.

This simple adjustment invites the Universe to figure out the “how” while allowing me to stay in alignment as I continue to show up in every aspect of my life, as both teacher and student.

Would You Change the World?

If you could change the world… would you?

There’s an aspect to that question that implies it’s “for the better,” but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. I think that we do change the world around us every single day – without realizing it or thinking about it, and not always for the better.

Think about it: we are a product of our environment and simultaneously we create our environment. We are the beginning and the end of what we see, hear, and experience on a daily basis.

Therefore, the question is not really “would you,” but since you already are, what can you do differently?

Everything you send out becomes a seed or ripple for someone else. Everything.

And before we get into whether this is spiritual mumbo-jumbo or too altruistic and theoretical, let me say plainly that it’s not. Here’s why:

I’m human. I react to the events in my environment. I may get upset, elated, angry, happy, hurt, etc. For example, if I’m driving down the road and get cut off, I’ll have a reaction. It’s natural.

What happens in the seconds AFTER my initial reaction is what matters most. If I get cut off, I might say, “oh, come on!” aloud in my car. I can then choose to pursue it further (swear, honk, offer a hand-related gesture) or let it go (breathe, listen to music, pay attention to my own driving). This is where the power lies. In that nano-moment I have the power of choice, and what I choose directly affects the world around me.

My decision changes the world, one way or another.

If I carry it further, I have created ripples in my own life by letting my actions affect my mood and subsequently how I show up. I have also created an opportunity for the other person to carry it further, and create their own domino effect that moves on down the line. A change in the world has occurred.

If I choose to let it go, I am reclaiming my own power, which means I show up with that presence, which has its own ripple effect down the line. Letting it go also means that I am stopping at least one of the dominoes from the person cutting me off by not allowing them to send their ripples toward me. A change occurs.

Our actions directly affect how we show up in the world, and subsequently, how we invite the world to show up for us. A change occurs either way. If you want to change the world for the better, being deliberate in your choices is a good place to start.