Category Archives: possibility

The Power of… Not Engaging?

Don’t Engage.
Don’t Engage.
Don’t Engage.

This has been my mantra of sorts for a while now. It’s the phrase I hear in my head (always repeated three times) when I am waffling between commenting on something in social media, or jumping into the fray of some in-person drama. Usually, I have the presence of mind to steer clear, but sometimes I make the mistake of chiming in… when chiming in is the worst decision I could have made. Hence, I created a phrase to help remind me of the importance – and power – of not engaging.

Lately, interestingly, I’ve found that I’ve been teaching and sharing this powerful (non)tool more and more often. The problem I see is that people are feeling worn out emotionally, which spills over into our daily lives and diminishes our patience and tolerance for others (aka: our compassion).

Choosing a path of non-engagement preserves our compassion and amplifies our energy.

Let me clarify that “non-engagement” is not the same as disengagement. Disengagement implies a level of not caring, or apathy. It’s a “head-in-the-sand” mentality. Non-engagement is about witnessing. It’s about watching, learning, seeing, reading, and understanding from a neutral perspective so that your emotions (your energy) is not sucked into the mayhem and chaos, thereby depleting you or lowering your vibration.

Non-engagement helps to keep you in alignment with who you are, while also allowing you to have ample amounts of energy to choose where, when, and how to engage. This is key. This means that you can direct your focus and your energy into that which you wish to fuel, and THAT is where the power lies.

When you accept that you can CHOOSE where, how, and to what you wish to give your energy, life becomes infinitely more possible. It’s okay to not engage in the battles. All activism is not necessarily good activism, especially if the activists are constantly feeling depleted. This is why it’s important to know where your heart resides, and pursue that. If it’s animal protection and rescue – do that. If it’s politics – do that. If it’s the environment – do that. If it’s not activism – that’s okay too.

And if someone tells you that you need to be more active in a different arena, it’s okay to tell them that you have already chosen where you are giving your energy and attention. This is what it means to be empowered, to stand in your boots. It’s about knowing that…

…You can choose what you give your energy to;
…You can choose not to engage in the chaos; and
…You can choose to let the trauma-drama train pass you by.

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Engagement is a choice. Non-engagement is a choice, and both are acceptable. In fact, both are necessary if you wish to have the energy, compassion, and presence to engage where your heart leads. If we engage in chaos, we fuel chaos. Because, remember: Where we choose to engage, we fuel.

xoxo,
Martina

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)

My Favorite Italian Word

In Eat Pray Love Liz Gilbert suggested we all have a word that defines us or our situation. For her it was “attraversiamo,” which translates to “let’s cross over,” that defined the period of her life in which she wrote the book.

I like the idea of using words to define our chronological life eras (Duh! I’m a writer.) But I like even more the idea of uncovering the words that propel our lives, that guide us, regardless of what era we are in. To me, that feels more expansive, more filled with potential and the essence of What if..?

In the shower the other morning, I found myself muttering “anch’io” over and over again. It sort of just rolls off the tongue… ahn-kee-oh.

I love this word. Always have, ever since I first studied Italian in college. And, yes, technically it’s a contraction of two words (“anche” and “io”), but that’s not what you would ever say, so it’s actually its own word.

Anch’io.

While I was repeating it quietly, feeling the syllables roll around my mouth, I started actually thinking about what it meant. Literally, it means “And I.” But for me it feels like more than that.

Anch’io feels like the most powerful “Yes!” to the Universe’s invitation.

It feels like I’m volunteering to

join in
show up
be present

and participate in life.

Anch’io is a statement, a declaration, that I’m right here, right now, and wish to be counted.

I love that. I love the energy and possibility fueled by one simple word: Anch’io. It may be my favorite Italian word (though gelato is quite awesome too).

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.

How Non-Attachment Enhanced My Birthday

Last week was my birthday, and it was one of the best I’ve celebrated in a long time for many reasons, but especially this:

I practiced non-attachment.

Everything throughout the day was a gift. The text from an old friend? A gift. The call from across the pond? A gift. Three small celebrations with family and friends? All gifts.

Absolutely everything in my day was filled with joy, because I wasn’t attached to any of it. I was in a space of non-attachment, and non-attachment allows you to move through life with more grace and ease than practically anything else. 

So what is non-attachment?

To begin with, let’s identify what it’s not. It’s not detachment. Detachment still requires there to be something else to detach from. Non-attachment has no such requirement. Detachment is a response to something, non-attachment just is.

Non-attachment isn’t the same as not caring, however. Non-attachment is about not having an investment in the outcome. It’s a process of divestment, in which the object is not just no longer a focus to be for or against, but there is no object. Non-attachment is about transcending expectations to arrive at a place with no suffering, because there’s nothing to react to or push against or for.

Everything just is. 

If I had not been practicing non-attachment, like in years past, I would have wondered where certain texts, calls, or cards were and why I had or had not received them by now. I would have been mired in the story my brain made up about the situation, rather than simply not creating a situation to begin with. In making up stories about why, I would have been stuck in a cycle of expectation and suffering.

Instead of creating stories and situations, I chose not to invest my time or energy into these questions or anything related. I went through my day and saw every incoming birthday wish as a bonus. There was nothing to push against, there was only the open arms of receptivity to what is. And as a result, I had one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a while, filled with love and celebration.

I’m not saying non-attachment is easy (there were one or two “why haven’t I heard from x yet?” thoughts that popped up). But I am saying that a practice of non-attachment makes life easier. It also opens us up to greater possibility for joy, creativity, and innovation, because we have freed up significant mental and emotional real estate in our minds and in our time… and those are probably the best gifts of all.

Windows of Opportunity

We all have them: windows of opportunity. Often, though, we are looking at them in hindsight with regret, only recognizing their potential once the window has mostly, if not completely, closed.

Why does this happen?
Why don’t we see it, or trust it, when it first opens?

I believe that much of the reason why we don’t jump at the opportunities presented to us is because we simply aren’t ready, and these windows of opportunity arrive in order to help us become more ready over time.

Seeing life in this way instantly turns regret into gratitude. It opens us up to progress, rather than spending our time in process.

When we’re open to progress, we are fine-tuning ourselves through mindfulness and awareness. We’re eliminating the noise of that which no longer serves us in order to make room for the joy of possibility for that which is wholly aligned with our soul.

And that’s when the magic happens.

Once we start shifting our perspective to one of possibility and progress, we allow for more and more windows to open. In fact, we actually start opening them ourselves.