Category Archives: life’s purpose

Living a Purpose-Driven Life

Recently a friend/colleague challenged me to make a BIG overnight shift in my life in order to make an internal announcement to myself (and presumably an external announcement to the powers that be) that I am showing up. I’m here. I’m to be taken seriously, and I’m all in.

I understood his challenge. He saw me waffling somewhat and lollygagging about, trying this and that, and always seemingly coming up short or facing another obstacle, some external, some internal (hence the internal announcement).

What I didn’t understand is why I needed to make such a BIG turnaround overnight. So I disagreed with him and suggested some modifications to his original idea/plan. To him, I think that appeared to be more obstacles and more waffling. Indeed, at the time, I sort of shamed myself into thinking the same.

“Why can’t I ‘just do it’ as the sign says?”
“What’s wrong with me?”
“I’ve failed before I’ve begun.”

Many many more less-than-kind phrases cropped up into my thinking. The prevailing thought was basically “NO way can I do this…” And then it hit me:

Yes, yes I could… MY way.

That single phrase was more of an announcement than anything anyone else could create for me. Why? Because it’s infinitely more powerful, because it’s mine.

My father once told me long ago when I was dating my now ex-husband: “Don’t do for, do with.” It was a piece of advice I faltered with at the time but have come to hear over and over in my head since then as one of the wisest things he had ever said.

Don’t do for, do with.

If I had taken my friend/colleague’s challenge and plan, I’d be doing it FOR him as part of some old paradigm of placating and pleasing, and seeking approval. Instead, I needed to come up with my own plan, my own internal voice, that announced to me and the world around me that I am here, I am ready, and I am all in.

That’s not an easy task, mind you. Uncovering your purpose-driven life is a process that requires deliberate intent, focus, and above all else an alignment with your core values and who you are.

My friend wanted me to feel the passion and drive he described to me that he felt when he was on his purpose. And I applaud him for it, because I think he’s extraordinary. But I’m not him. I’m me. And ‘me’ feels things differently. My passion is not a burning urgent passion. My passion is a calm knowing presence. It’s aligned with my values and who I am at a deep level, and it expresses itself the exact same way. And that’s exactly how it should be.

So, my passion and my purpose don’t require a huge overnight shift and change in plan. They require me to show up, falter, and show up again. They require me to keep going, even when I don’t feel like it, and they require me to be honest with myself, be true to myself, and to do things for myself, and not to please others.

Living a purpose-driven life is something only you can define for yourself. Uncovering that purpose can be challenging and difficult sometimes. But what I know with 100% certainty is that living without purpose is infinitely more difficult, because it’s not living. Living without purpose is merely existing… and existing is about taking up space, rather than claiming your place.

I’m claiming my place. How about you?

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!

(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?

‘Leggo my E-go’

What is the Ego? And why is there so much fuss about it among the health and wellness folks? Is it really such a villain? I’ve read many different authors and spoken to lots of different teachers and guides about this exact subject, and I still don’t have a totally concrete answer. But I think I’ve been able to sort through it all and distill it down to a more simple truth: Ego is the absence of Spirit.

Now what does that really mean? Does it mean that if you have an ego, and act from a place of ego, that you’re not spiritual? Nope – we’re all spiritual. We’re all souls at the heart of our essence. Ego is the personality of the body, expressing itself on earth, and disregarding the true essence of our souls: Divine Energy.

A lot of what I’ve read suggests that in order to live a fulfilling life, the two are mutually exclusive and cannot co-exist. In fact, many of the people I consider to be mentors advise letting go of ego entirely. It’s what’s worked for them. And it works for millions of people worldwide. I’m quite sure the Dalai Lama has let go of his ego. But boy, is that a difficult thing to do. I’ve been struggling with it myself for years now – but I think the struggle is over. Why? Because I’m accepting that I don’t need to let go of my ego; I need to acknowledge it. I need to honor it, acknowledge it and accept it. And in validating its presence, it will no longer hold sway over my life – which, actually, is a form of letting go.

Let me explain: my ego – our egos – have protected us. They have served a purpose, and they have taught us well. They have shielded us from harm, and allowed us to make decisions that put us directly in harm’s way, in order to learn what we need to learn in this lifetime. Our egos have helped us to create the building blocks we need in order to grow and awaken to our true essence. Without them, we would be wandering aimlessly on a path that we didn’t know existed, and in a state of ignorance that may or may not be bliss. Here’s the catch, though: Our egos, once they’ve served their purpose and we’ve learned their role, no longer serve us. Once we’re at a point where we are awake enough to move forward without their protective layers and filters, we need to shed them like a snake skin we’ve outgrown. And that’s ok. It’s healthy. But when something has helped you, do you choose to work really hard to ignore it, toss it aside, and pretend it didn’t exist, until you get to a point where it doesn’t exist? Or, do you choose, instead, to honor it, thank it, and allow it to move on all on its own, naturally, and peacefully? Again, it’s a choice. I admit, I initially chose the former – at times begging the Universe to release me from my ego. It didn’t work. Why would it?

Instead, I now see the simplicity of releasing it through love, and honor. Validating its role in my life, and thanking it for keeping me safe and bringing me my lessons to get me this far. Now that I am more awake, I can take it from here. In a way, I realize that I need to treat my ego like an old friend – a faithful old friend – not a villain. Many authors/teachers may disagree with me, but that’s fine. This is my experience – perhaps it’s yours too. For me, the ego only becomes a “villain” in our lives when we allow it to, by giving it the power to distract us from our true essence.

So, while there are many perspectives on the ego’s role in our lives, I’ve added one more to the mix. I still agree and accept that the ego, by definition, is the absence of Spirit. However, I don’t like vilifying it to the extent that we create an urgency to relinquish it. The ego has been a helpful partner, and needs to be dealt with as such. But as everything has its time – it’s ok to part ways, even with the most helpful of partners. In fact, parting ways is a sign of true progress and growth, because it symbolizes a return to our essence, our spirit. With that return comes humility, grace and peace. All blessings, if you ask me. And without the ego distracting us from our purpose, these blessings have even more room to grow and flourish.

So, thank your old friend. Offer it your gratitude for keeping you safe and bringing you your lessons, and allow it to go peacefully, happy in knowing it served its purpose. By loving your ego, you will set it free. Then you will truly know what it is to live in Spirit – as your Divine self – open to your life’s purpose.

In Love & Light,