Category Archives: guidance

My Story of Grace

I am so excited to share this news with you. 365 Moments of Grace is out TODAY and I’m a Contributing Author! In its pages, I have shared my personal story of Grace – how I found it, what it means to me, and how it’s ever-present in my life…even when I forget. Like last week.

I took last week off from writing a blog, because I was overwhelemed by the recent tragedies in our world. My system simply needed a little R&R to reboot. While I was resting, I started writing about what I was experiencing, thinking, and feeling. As I wrote, I was reminded of the importance of grace in our lives, especially when everything seems to be unraveling. So, the timing of this book couldn’t be more perfectly aligned. (I’ll be sharing what I wrote in an upcoming blog, too.)

As such, I’m so happy to share this book with you! As a contributing author, you’ll see that this is a collaborative work, and I think it’s ingenious.

365 Moments of Grace is a daily devotional created around a central idea (grace) with over 250 authors sharing their stories and wisdom. Most devotionals have a theme and a single voice, which sometimes can feel repetitive. In our book, each voice is unique, which gives a much broader perspective to the topic. Awesome!

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I hope you find this book to be a wonderful source of calm and grace in your year ahead. And frankly, I hope you consider purchasing it today – because we would love to be ranked as a “bestseller” on our launch day, a title that can be shared among all the contributing authors. (Until I reach that status on my own – which I know is just around the corner – it would be lovely to reach it as part of a collaborative soulful effort.) 

If you’d like to support us in reaching our “bestselling” status, and more importantly, to add a wonderful inspirational book to your bookshelf, please buy your copy today, by using this link. This link is personal to me, and will actually support me as one of the authors (albeit a teeny-tiny percentage), which would be additionally awesome, and greatly appreciated. Feel free to share it with your friends and family too. Of course, you can purchase the book at any time, and an e-book should be coming out in a couple of months, too.

As always, I appreciate your support, thoughtfulness, and encouragement on this journey of mine, as I keep writing and helping others through theirs.

xoxo,
Martina

P.S. There are over 100 (!) Bonus Gifts available from various authors when you purchase the book, including my very own hand-drawn mandala on Grace. Check them out, here.

Feeling Stressed?

Stress can be like wind on the surface of water: temporary, changing, and totally outside of our control.

We often feel stressed and anxious because of circumstances in our life that we cannot control or influence. (Usually, actually, we think we can, which contributes to the level of stress we experience.)

Therefore, it’s important to know which type of stress you’re dealing with. In my experience, there are two types:

  • surface stress
  • deep stress

This week, I’m looking at surface level stress, because it’s the one we can deal with most readily, since it’s predominantly external. For that metaphor, let’s liken stress to wind blowing across the surface of a lake, causing ripples. The water deep underneath might be calm and clear, but the surface looks like a hot mess.

It’s this stress that’s truly temporary. Additionally, 9 times out of 10, the key to alleviating this stress is to remember that the vast majority of the water (what’s underneath) is calm and unaffected by the wind.

The wind can be anything from a child’s or boss’ tantrum, to a bad hair day, or traffic, or not having enough milk for your coffee in the morning, or even…

…family, friends, colleagues and social media. Basically, it can be anything external to you.

Like the wind, it’s outside of your control and often has nothing to do with you personally. The key to restoring balance is to understand and remember these three things:

  • the surface is not the story
  • the wind is temporary
  • the calm beneath is the truth

If you can keep these simple ideas in mind, it will help you navigate any stressful (windy) situation with more grace and ease. There’s comfort in knowing that, at your core, everything is okay. In fact, I would argue it’s the best way to live. 🙂

Turning the wheels

I was driving home from an appointment today, and a little nugget of wisdom bopped me on the head as I waited for my turn to turn left.

Don’t turn your wheels.

This was something my dad taught me when I was learning to drive.  “Don’t anticipate the turn, Martina. Don’t turn your wheels.”

“Why?”

“Because someone could come along behind you and bump you. And if they did, rather than going straight forward, your car would turn directly into oncoming traffic.”

“Oh.”

I have always remembered that, and I never turn my wheels until I am actually making the turn, but today I realized his advice extended beyond just driving and might make sense if I applied it elsewhere in life.

Knowing where you want to go, planning your route, and progressing along the path you’ve laid out is how we all get through life. It’s when we turn our wheels before we can actually move, that we get in trouble. Why? Because life happens. Things happen, and if your wheels are turned in anticipation, it’s harder to make adjustments if something unexpected happens.

It’s like the old adage of putting the cart before the horse. You may eventually get there, but it will be a more challenging and difficult process. And in the case of being propelled unwillingly into oncoming traffic, it’s downright dangerous!

So, the next time you’re anticipating a turn, a change, a decision in your life, keep your wheels straight, and turn them when the opportunity arises to actually make the turn. Then do so with commitment. Because just like driving, if you change your mind in the middle of the turn (or constantly look back at where you were), you’re more likely to hurt others and yourself.

Happy driving! (literally and figuratively)

Little Black Dress

I recently heard someone use the phrase:

“Being helpful is just control in a party dress.” To begin with, I wished I had come up with that. It’s brilliant: simple, poignant and tangible. Sometimes, when we think we’re helping someone, we’re actually causing more problems. Our intentions are good, but the results aren’t always in line with what we hoped would be the outcome when we decided to get involved.

Then there are those times when our intentions are actually self-serving. We help, not because we can (or need to), but because it makes us feel good – and we’re not necessarily interested in the outcome. We got what we needed out of the situation, and well – the rest is ‘out of our control.’ And then there are those times when we help because we care, but we also have a desired expectation. Furthermore, having an expectation implies a desire to control. This expectation can be a desire for praise for our efforts, or for the person we’re helping to follow our advice because we know best. But do we really?

Does anybody know what’s best for them, better than the person themselves? We need community (family, friends, society) to help us process things, but we don’t’ necessarily need someone doing the work for us. In fact, we never do. Why? Because if someone is helping us do something that we should be doing ourselves, then they are actually hurting us by taking away our opportunity for growth and learning.

I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum. I’ve received help from people who genuinely cared for me and loved me, and I’ve helped people I genuinely care about and love. I have both appreciated and been hurt by these situations. The difference for me came when I finally realized the truth about ‘being helpful.’ To help someone when they ask for help is fine. So, now, I do my best to ask first, “Do you need my help? Or do you just need to talk this out?” The flip side of the coin is that I’ve also gotten better at asking for help, which was a HUGE lesson to learn, but well worth it. Nobody in my circle has to guess anymore about what I need or what I’m feeling. It’s not 100%, but it’s close. I ask for what I need, and I share my feelings openly and honestly. And when I offer my help, I do my best to do so without judgment or expectation.

It’s one of the most important rules in Coaching and working in an industry where people need your help: Guide, don’t lead. When we lead, we take away the opportunity for someone to make their own decisions. We’re essentially pulling them behind us, however passively. When we guide, we are standing next to them, sharing our experience and wisdom, allowing them to make their own decisions.

So – think of how being helpful can also be hurtful in both giving and receiving. Nobody likes unsolicited advice. And, quite frankly, the greatest gift is the one given anonymously. If you’re helping someone because you want to get something out of it – or expect a specific result – then perhaps you’re not helping at all. And a very wise woman once taught me: ‘A wise (wo)man says it once, then walks away.’ She’s wise, because she knows you can lose yourself when you spend too much time trying to help someone else. And then neither of you will be better off.

In love and light,

Martina

**LBD image: lanebryant.com; mule image: journalnow.com**