Category Archives: peace

How do we make sense of the senseless?

How do we make sense of the senseless? (video here, if you prefer to listen/watch)

To begin with, senseless tragedy and violence seem to be all around us. Our nervous systems are on overload, so even getting into a space where we could attempt to make sense of it all is virtually impossible.

In the last week, we have seen violence on a horrific scale. Whether domestic or international, the crimes against humanity – against our very nature – have pushed many of us over the edge of reason and into empathic overload. I have seen many of my lightworker colleagues retreat in the last 24 hours, because of this. I myself, needed to take a step back to gain grounding and perspective in light of what has been going on. But please don’t mistake silence for apathy. In fact, it’s quite the reverse.

During this time I have repeatedly asked myself what is the most important question to answer here? And I kept returning to: How do we make sense of the senseless?

While, it’s not actually the most important question – it was the gateway to the most important answer.

Firstly, we stop trying to make sense of the senseless. When something goes against our very nature, it is often explained away in order to soothe our ache. For example, when a child dies, we say: God must have needed him or her. We do this to create some sort of balm so we can categorize it and store it away and stem the tide of hurt and pain.

When senseless violence occurs, we try to make the same attempt at understanding in order to diminish the pain and fear, but instead we often end up in a loop of emotion fueled by rationalization. We get trapped, because the very definition of the crime is that it’s senseless.

Therefore, we need to stop trying to understand it, to stop trying to make sense of the senseless. The way forward is to name it and label it for what it is (senseless), so we can accept it as is and work to change at its roots, by understanding its genesis.

All violence, in my opinion, has its origins in the energy of Fear, and Fear is taught. Whether it’s about power, frustration, lack, oppression, anger, rage, victimization, etc. – you name it, it’s taught, often through propaganda. These teachings are grounded in the low-vibration energy of Fear, and are then fueled until they manifest in action.

In most of my studies thus far, I have been taught that the opposite of Fear is Love. And while I know that to be true (Love is the energy of creation, and Fear is the energy of destruction) – I actually modify it slightly.

For years I have been writing and maintaining that the opposite of Fear is not Love, but Hope.

Why?

Because in the absence of Love, and mired in the deepest trenches of Fear, Hope remains. It’s that glimmering grain of sand in the darkness that invites Love back into the conversation.

IMG_6684Therefore, if we look at the vibrational energies on a spectrum, we would have Fear on one end (low vibration), and Hope on the other (high vibration). Anything that is of the lower vibrations associated with Fear (anger, hurt, betrayal, rage, etc.) would then be made better by dousing them with the higher vibration energies associated with Hope (Love, gratitude, compassion, kindness, etc.).

However, I prefer to think of them as a continuum, rather than a spectrum. The reason being is that I know, personally and professionally, that Hope is always present, even in Fear. And it’s a much closer jump from Fear to Hope than it is from Fear to compassion, when it’s on a continuum.

But what does all this have to do with the recent violence and tragedies around the world?

Well, if violence is born of the propaganda and teaching of Fear, then we must teach Hope to counteract it. We must

teach Hope,
speak Hope, and
embody Hope.

What does this look like? Well, for my dear friends who are amazingly powerful and vocal activists, it means speaking out, raising awareness, and lending their voices to a cause. For my quieter more introspective friends, it means sharing Hope by adding beauty in to the world and reminding people that there is much – much – more good than violence and tragedy going on… and everything in between. These are just two examples, amid a world of infinite possibilities.

We know that people listen when they feel heard. In order to even enter into a discussion to create change and foster peace, Hope needs to be restored.

Teaching Hope, speaking Hope, and embodying Hope in our daily lives is the way forward for a more loving and peaceful world that is aligned with our true nature: our divinity and our humanity. We are both, and Hope resides exactly in the center of the two. Hope is the manifestation of what it means to be both human and divine. Hope is at the very core of who we are – and it’s the most powerful tool we have.

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

IMG_2889

My Wish For You

This is the week that many people in the world celebrate the “Prince of Peace.” For millennia, numerous others have followed in his footsteps as peacemakers, from Gandhi to the everyday men and women who choose compassion, courage, and love over fear.

As one year winds down and we look to the hope of new beginnings, my wish for you is simple: I wish you peace.

peace

I will be taking next week off from writing InspireBytes™ to enjoy the many gifts of the season, and wish you all the best however you choose to celebrate this time of year.

xoxo,
Martina

Best Laid Plans

We all have them: Best laid plans. Then something unexpected happens and suddenly our plans have to change. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes less so.

Last week I told you all that I was taking a mini-break from writing InspireBytes™ organically, on a weekly basis. I had several weeks of writing all planned out, prepared, and scheduled to carry us through Thanksgiving and beyond, which would allow me this hiatus.

Then Paris happened.

And Beirut.

And Baghdad.

My plans changed.

I’ve spent the better part of the last few days like most everyone else I know, waffling between anger, disbelief, frustration, and helplessness, with a thought cloud of question marks swirling above my head.

What can I/we do?
Why is this happening?
How can it be stopped?
What is the root cause?
What about all the survivors?
And the loved ones?
What about those who died?

and
What next?

Actually, it’s that last question that I felt like I could answer, because I know in my heart the only way forward is through hope.

Even in the darkest of times, hope is what restores us to light. When Love has disappeared, it’s hope that keeps people moving forward. It’s hope that keeps a crack in the door to let Love back in.

It seems to be a universally accepted truth that Love is the most powerful force in the universe, because it’s the source of all things. A couple months ago I even wrote about the 4 types of love, and I absolutely believe that Love is source. However, I don’t believe that Love is the most powerful force in the universe, because it shares that title… with hope.

Hope is equally as powerful as Love for one main reason: Hope is the ever-present path back to love. It’s the grain of sand in the dark that reminds you that something else is possible.

Think about it for a second: when things are at their worst, what keeps people going? What moves people forward through tragedy and trauma? Is it Love? Sometimes it’s love for family or others, but that’s not always the case – there’s something more. Even when someone is completely alone, trapped and isolated from everything, hope is present. When darkness, fear, and hatred are present and all feels lost and numb, it’s hope that restores Love.

That’s why I can answer that last question: What next?

Hope.

Hope for the future. Hope for possibility. Hope for knowing that this era of terror will end. Hope for all that I believe and know to be true to come pouring forth and shift the energy around the trauma.

Hope is an invitation. Without it, there’s little point in dreaming or praying. In fact, one of my favorite lines from a movie is from ‘The Preacher’s Wife’ in which the preacher tells the teenager, “Hope… is all a prayer is.”

Hope is the key that ignites possibility. And possibility is the first step toward change.

In placing our energy in hope, we are taking a step toward defeating fear and terror by allowing for the possibility of Love to return. Hope restores Love.

So, when we sit with question marks swirling over our heads and ask ourselves: What next? Look for the grain of sand in the dark – that pinhole of light we know as Hope – and focus on it. Pour your energy into it, whatever that means for you, and allow Love to return, edging fear out.

Acceptance Made Easy(er)

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about “acceptance” and how important it is for living a balanced and happy life. And I agree. Acceptance is one of the cornerstones of living well.

Where I have a teensy-weensy problem, however, is the connotation that has developed around the idea of acceptance.

To address this, let’s first look at what acceptance is not.

Acceptance is not:

  • Settling
  • Surrender
  • Giving up
  • A consolation prize
  • Relinquishing responsibility

Nor is it blind faith and/or an abandonment of free will. Rather, acceptance is a calm embrace of what is. It’s a knowing.

Acceptance is peace through wisdom.

Acceptance doesn’t require abandonment of understanding and/or exploration. Rather, it requires questioning. Questioning that moves us through to acceptance from a place of strength, courage, and presence.

Acceptance asks us to question everything so that we arrive at the knowing underneath, the knowing that was always there. There’s a quiet grace in true acceptance that transcends chaos and fear.

In other words, if it feels like settling or giving up, it’s not acceptance. Acceptance is an embrace, not a letting go.

‘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,

Martina