Category Archives: inspiration

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

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.

I’m Just Me.

Last week I wrote a poem, but hadn’t decided when/where or if I would share it. I showed it to a friend and she said, “Oh my gosh I love it!!! It has a bit of a Dr. Seuss feel to it which I love. I can see this accompanied by some great illustrations Way to go!!! xox”

Then I woke up to this news: It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday today! He would have been 112. So, in light of that synchronicity… I give you

“I’m just me.”
——————
I’m just me and that’s all I can be.
You’re just you and that’s all you can do too.
And it’s more than okay
for us to be that way,
Because we don’t need to be other stuff to make us enough.

We don’t need the praises, the things, and the approval.
In fact, too much of that stuff is cause for our removal
From who we are inside, what we know to be true,
Like when you look at me, or I look at you.

When we look in the mirror, too often we stare with fury.
We don’t see the love, the joy, and the beauty.
We stress over what we are not, or wished that we were,
Like him, or them, or anybody… especially her!

We notice the hurt, the pain, and the flaws.
We only see blemishes, while craving applause.
We want what we think will bring peace to our hearts.
We search for the answers in everything that keeps us apart.

Apart from ourselves, apart from each other,
Forever in competition, one always better than another.
There is no judgment, no comparison to be made,
Because we are all perfect – inside and out – in our own ways.

So, you just do you, and I’ll just do me,
And together we’ll make this world
A happier place to be.

©2016 Martina E. Faulkner

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7 Lessons for Living (or what I learned on my book tour)

I just finished my last public event of Book Tour 2015 on Sunday night. We had a wonderful evening, with really thoughtful questions from attendees and a courageous volunteer. It was a great experience, and I’m now going to take some time off until the end of the year so I can rest, restore, and write. (Don’t worry, I’ve pre-loaded my blogs, so that you don’t miss a week of inspiration.) 🙂

Over the past seven weeks, I have learned a lot about marketing, events, and engagement. I actually think these lessons apply to life in general, not just book tours and public speaking, so I thought I’d share some of what I learned along the way.

1. Follow Your Heart. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. This is a simple piece of advice that I have heard over and over again that seems to be difficult to employ. Here’s what happened when I did: I found peace. Peace, for me, is comprised of calm, joy, and confidence. Following my heart meant that I wasn’t attached to specific outcomes, and I was allowing myself to be guided by what I knew to be true in my heart, rather than what I was told to expect or desire. It’s a way of moving through life more intentionally, letting go of the “shoulda-coulda-woulda” dialogue that keeps us stuck.

2. Live Deliberately, not by Default. This was not something “new” that I learned on tour, but was reinforced for me repeatedly. It is something I have learned, practice, and teach my clients. Living deliberately requires strength and vulnerability. It’s the difference between choosing to show up or just being somewhere. It would be easy to dismiss it as an attitude, but it’s more than that, it’s an action. It’s active choice. During my tour, when I chose to deliberately show up as all of who I am, from my heart, everything seemed to work and flow better. When I chose to simply be responsive to life around me I felt stifled, which created opportunities for the Doubt-Monkeys to come frolic in my mind.

3. Doubt-Monkeys are My Friends. This was new for me, and may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Doubt is a natural component of being human, especially when you’re choosing to be more visible. Interestingly, I have learned that doubt can be a great motivator to go deeper. I used to feel despair when the Doubt-Monkeys showed up, as if I would never get to a place of zero-doubt, which would be an indicator of authentic alignment. It’s simply not the case. I’ve come to learn that when the Doubt-Monkeys come knocking, they’re actually bringing a hand-delivered invitation to stand taller and recommit to my purpose. The Doubt-Monkeys will only run rampant, if I see them as uninvited guests. When I look for the messages they’re offering (which show up as triggers), I am able to embrace their arrival and learn something I needed, which often leads to their swift departure.

4. Investigate All Assumptions. We all know the pithy phrase, right? To “assume” makes an “ass” of “u” and “me.” Well, it works both ways when you assume. Assumptions need to be verified. Whether or not I assume anything, positive or negative, it needs to be checked out. If I assumed someone was doing something for me, I ran the risk of being let down. Conversely, if I assume that nothing is being done then I am taking on too much (by believing “I have to do it all”), and subsequently overwhelming my system. The bottom line here is: ask. I know we sometimes fear asking questions, but it costs nothing to ask, and there is so much to be gained.

5. Expectations Create Obstacles. This is, again, something I think we all know, but don’t necessarily have at the forefront in practice. It goes along with assumptions. Expectations create assumptions, and thereby create obstacles. Expectations need to be vetted. They need to be explored, understood and then communicated. If not, they can become giant hurdles in your path that either make you overextend yourself or actually have to turn around and repeat your steps in a different way. U-turns and obstacles are the result of unexpressed expectations, both of which can lead to compromised health, time, or purpose.

6. Make Room for Your Favorite Things. Since I was traveling for an extended period, I chose to pack some items that would aid me in my down time. That means I had a mini coloring book and markers, my favorite teas, my greens drink powder, a couple books, and my favorite music. These are the items that I reach for when I need to decompress, restore, and reconnect to myself. They fuel my body, spirit, and mind and have become trusted tools in my toolbox, so I made room for them in my luggage and my days. Making room is about honoring your Self and choosing to be a priority in your own life.

7. Joy Is Important. This was perhaps the most important reminder along the way. It’s important to have fun, to instill your practice with joy. Whether you are a teacher, a lawyer, or a janitor, no matter what you do for a living, it’s important to infuse it with some joy. It will go a long way to creating a healthier environment in which to spend your 8-10 hours/day, and it will help those around you do the same. Even if you have a serious job, such as being a trauma surgeon or EMT, it’s important to layer elements into your life and work that make your heart smile. Joy is important.

Of course, there’s always more to be learned and remembered, and this was certainly not the entire list from my tour, but I like the number 7. It feels good, balanced. Even if you choose to focus on only one of the items on the list, your life will change for the better. In fact, that’s often what I recommend: choose one thing, focus on it and allow yourself to witness the changes it creates. Then, once it feels good, choose another.

That might be lesson #8, though I think it’s the basis of all lessons, really: Choice. Choice is possibly the most powerful tool in your toolbox. It empowers and emboldens us to live more fully, with more meaning and more joy… and what can be better than that?

Covers, Doubt, and a Perfectly-Timed Text

Have you ever experienced self-doubt? I think most of us have at one time or another. I know I have. Most recently, I have experienced it with greater frequency than normal.

As you may know, I’m about to publish my first book. This is something you only get to do once in a lifetime. There is only one “first” of anything. So, I’ve been working really hard to get it as close to perfect as possible – knowing, of course, that there is no “perfect.” Well, almost…

Last week I received an unexpected, yet perfectly-timed, text that simply said: “Dude. This book is awesome!”

The text was from a friend who received an advance copy of my book. Only a couple of hours into receiving it, and already she was texting to tell me that it was awesome. She went on to say that I must already know that. But did I?

Here’s what I have learned throughout this publishing process: self-doubt will always (always) show up. Why? Because it has to. It has to in order for me to question myself and question my work. I need to do that to be able to stand up, stand for it, and move forward knowing in my heart that what I’ve done – what I’ve created – is, in fact, awesome.

For a while, I was feeling shame over my self-doubt. Feeling like it was yet another obstacle I had to overcome. But it’s simply not the case. Maybe at one point in my life it was, but now I see it as an ally. I see it as an opportunity for me to go deeper into the embrace. I see it as a chance to rise higher, stand taller, and empower myself further. In other words, I see it as a gift.

So, with that said, and having self-doubted my way through countless tweaks to the cover for my new book – I can honestly say that I am THRILLED, EXCITED, and PROUD to share it with you now. Here it is:

What If - coverI can’t wait to share the whole book with you in 8 short weeks!

Are you looking forward to reading it? Learning about this powerful approach I’ve created to change your life? I truly can’t wait to share it with you – and I look forward to you sharing it with your family and friends.

To get the party started, join me and invite them to do the same. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Words, Gratitude and a MISSION!

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

That was my “old” motto/slogan. (Can I call it old if it’s only been 5 years?) I suppose in this day and age of digital everything; it’s almost ancient, actually. But it’s still valid today – and it will be valid every day, for the rest of my life and beyond. So it’s really very very new. ☺

It’s what I believe. It’s what I do, and I think it’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I choose every day that I wake up. I believe it’s a choice to chat with a clerk in a store, to engage in a conversation with a friend, to share an article or quote that we find inspiring, to hug or call someone who’s hurting, and to simply look a stranger in the eye and smile. These are choices I make to connect with the world around me, and I carry them forward in my coaching, writing and teaching.

What you don’t know is: Growing up, I used to think I could only change the world if I became a successful and famous (insert profession here), and then joined the UN Ambassador program to highlight areas of need. I used to think I had to do something notable and noteworthy in order to make a dent in the world for the better. I know a lot more since then, and I’m glad that’s not the only way to go about things, but sometimes my mind wanders back to those thoughts and ideas, and I wonder…

Then, as a reminder, last October I received this unexpected email from a reader:

Hi Martina,

Thanks for the gift of your words.

I forwarded this to a friend who is recovering from being involved with (someone)…
And your words lifted her world tremendously !

You’ve touched many today!

Blessings,
(name withheld)

I still fill with gratitude reading it. I am still in awe at the power of words to change someone’s life, and I am humbled by the fact that they came through me. (And THANK YOU my dear reader for sharing with me.)

So now I’m modifying my MISSION (formerly a motto/slogan) ever-so-slightly to more accurately reflect who I am and what I do:

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

I know this is possible. In fact, it’s more than that – it’s probable! So let’s do this together! All it takes is a smile, a hug, or even a word to change somebody’s world. Are you ready to join in?

Knock knock…..who’s there?

Opportunity.

What do you do if you’re awakened by your mind at roughly 3am for 3 nights in a row? Well, if you’re me, for the first two nights, you roll over, say “not now,” and go back to sleep – rather uncomfortably. By the third night, however, you sit up and take notice and accept the fact that inspiration has come to visit. It would be rude (and rather stupid) to keep ignoring the call.

Some say that the ‘veil’ between the physical world and the spiritual world is thinnest around 3 or 4 am. That if there are messages to receive, they will most readily and easily be ‘heard’ during that time frame. Heck, Dr. Wayne Dyer makes it a practice to be up and meditating during the thinned veil time, and look at what he’s accomplished! But I like my sleep. I need my sleep, so

it took three nights for me to heed the call!  …….And I’m ever so glad I did!

Not only do I have the idea and design completely mapped out for an entirely new workshop on authenticity that will be fantastic! (I can’t wait to share it with you!)  I am also writing this piece on opportunity. Knock knock, indeed.

What strikes me about opportunity lately is the realization that it knocks many many different ways. Sometimes we recognize it, sometimes we don’t. Here’s the bit that fascinates me however:

even when we recognize it, we often don’t know what to do!

It’s true! Suddenly, that open door that we’ve been praying and hoping for is before us, and we find ourselves speechless and motionless, seemingly unable to walk through it. Why? Is it fear of what’s on the other side? Fear of losing what’s known (and comfortable) on this side? Or is it something else combined with fear? Something like: lack of acceptance and preparation.

You see, if you’re at all like me (which if you’re human you probably are), then all the hoping and dreaming in the world doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the day the dreams have the potential to become reality. Why? Because the energy has been in the desire, not the acceptance. Wait. What?

The energy has been in the desire, not the acceptance.

Desiring something keeps it at arm’s length. It keeps it external to your reality. Accepting something makes it real…allows it to be received

So, there’s a reason manifesting incorporates receiving. Because asking is only half of the process. Receiving is the next step. The energy shifts and what was once desired is now possible.

As for opportunities. They can be tricky little buggers. The beauty is that if something is meant to be, the Universe conspires to make it happen and will provide numerous opportunities for you to walk through that door. They’ll range from the quiet subtle hints (like hearing something on the radio that ‘happens’ to be just what you were thinking about – coincidence?), to the blatant slaps upside the head, such as receiving a message in your inbox from someone reaching out to connect with you, be it for a job, a conversation or a relationship.

Opportunities are all around us. They abound. The Universe conspires to give us the best life imaginable from where we are today: a life of love, joy, wellness, prosperity and connection. What we have to do is learn to recognize them better, and accept them when they show up, by walking through that door. After all, anything is possible. Whether it’s probable, however, depends on what we do when opportunity shows up.

Room to Dream

This week I had prepared an entire piece on what it means to be grounded, and then I received the most inspirational and loving email from a dear old friend. She suggested that I write about change and how it brings about “new opportunities and room to dream.” She should know – she has inspired me for years with how she’s managed to turn major changes into a beautiful life, filled with friends, family, work and wellness.

So, what is it about change that frightens us so? Often times, when we are faced with a major life change, we go through a period of fear and anxiety. It’s totally ‘normal’ for us to experience these emotions; but more often than not, when we reflect on the event after the fact, we feel quite differently. We use the phrase “hindsight is 20/20,” as we move forward describing the stress that occurred beforehand as nothing more than a nuisance. We forget how angry, mean, tired and frustrated we were as a result of our living in a place of fear. We forget that we may have hurt people along the way – which is not a healthy way to maintain and grow relationships. Now, what if we could take the same challenging situations and develop a new perspective about them, before we give in to stress? Can we actually choose to feel excitement, anticipation and possibility in the face of major change?

I believe that in most cases, we can. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As an example, sudden death in a family rarely gives us the opportunity to choose our perspective. But many other life changes offer us enough time to consider a different approach: One that is healthier and more in-tune with our true Self. This raises a very specific question for me: are our reactions based on how we think we should act? Or are they based on pure emotion? In other words, are we doing/thinking/reacting to a life change in a manner that is consistent with what we’ve seen and learned throughout our life? Or are we truly feeling stressed, anxious and scared about the event? Nature v. Nurture. It’s an interesting thought.

Personally, I feel that our responses to life events are conditioned over time. This isn’t to say that our feelings aren’t real or valid. All feelings are real and valid. But it is to say that somewhere along the way we learned how to react to things, such as moving or employment changes, in a life-depleting manner. Instead of learning to embrace change and view it as the opportunity it is, filled with endless possibilities, we see it as something to be scared of and a source of worry. But change is one of the few things we can always rely on. Whether we like it or not, change is always going on around us and in our own lives. Change happens. And we desire change. If you take a minute to think about that, you’ll see just how profound that simple statement is: We desire change, and yet we fear it when it comes. It doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps we can look at it this way: many of us (myself included) daydream about all the “changes” we will/can make to improve our lives. We think: if I were thinner, richer, taller, shorter, had a degree, etc. I would be happier. These daydreams are dreams of change. And yet they are not remedies to the internal void that we seek to fill with these changes. They may definitely improve the circumstances of our lives, but eventually, they are not enough in and of themselves. So, the greatest change we can make is the change within – which is a change in attitude and perspective.

When we shift our internal focus to one of possibility, the world opens up to us. This is what my friend was talking about – and this is what she has done in her own life that I find so incredible. In moving to another country, she opened her heart and her life to the possibility of creating. She made choices that were life-affirming, which resulted in her being happier and more fulfilled. Sure she was nervous about leaving everything she knew behind her, but she quickly learned the value of change.

Change brings the greatest opportunities for personal growth; change allows dreams to become reality.

So, the next time you’re faced with the end of something old, or the beginning of something new, you will have a choice. Will you choose to see it as an opportunity for greater happiness and wellness; a chance to pursue your dreams? Or will you choose to reinforce old reactions and behaviors that may no longer serve you? Just a thought.

In Love and Light,

Martina

(P.S. I’ve added a new Poll to the sidebar – please vote through July 31st! Thanks!)