Category Archives: power

The Power in Truth

True power needs only truth to survive.

We are in tumultuous times. It’s all around us – not just in politics, but in corporate greed, human displacement, and, of course, war. The chaos that is being created is what fuels more chaos. And, sadly, chaos is what those who crave and are desperate to have power need in order to achieve their goals. The energy of desperation creates the opportunity for exploitation, and exploitation leads to (false) power.

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But true power is different. True power is founded and grounded in truth. We all know it. We know when we’ve heard truth, don’t we? And when we speak it. When we speak truth we are standing in our boots, in our power. Of course, discernment is important. We ought to gauge our audience and assess whether or not they are 1) ready and able to hear truth, and 2) have earned the right to hear truth. I actually had this happen to me last week.

Someone close to me had asked me about my truth. I discerned whether it was time for them to hear my story, and it was. So I shared it. There was no embellishment or flourish, there was simply story as I experienced it. And it was – and is – my truth. They heard it. They heard truth, and it shifted things. There was a deeper connection and understanding I believe that resulted from speaking truth. And even if there wasn’t, what matters is that each time I speak truth, I am empowering myself to stand even more firmly in who I am as I move through life. As you know, I call it standing in your boots, and I teach all my clients this.

There is infinite potential in the integrity of truth. The powers that be all over the world seem to have lost that little piece of wisdom along the way. Half-truths are manipulative and lack integrity. “Spinning,” which is such a popular phrase in the media, is the opposite of standing. You can’t spin in your truth. You can only stand in it. And what matters most, above everything else, is that we all find a way to stand in our boots on a daily basis. That we individually hold onto our own integrity, so that collectively, we can create change from within.

I suppose this is my way of saying that we seem to have lost our way as humanity, as a global tribe, and that maybe the way back is through integrity and recognizing that all “power” is fleeting, false, and temporary, unless it is born of truth. Finally, that perhaps speaking, acting, and upholding truth is the first step back to a more compassionate and connected society.

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

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.

The Most Powerful Tool in Your Tool Box (No, it’s not a sledgehammer.)

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you know I refer to my tool box often. It’s a constantly growing arsenal of lessons learned, experience gained, and skills acquired. During my recent book tour one attendee (who has been with me since 2010) suggest I change it from a “tool box” to a “tool shed” based on its ever-expanding size. She may be right.

However, I think one of the most important things I can do for my clients and readers is to help them create their own growing tool box. The key word being “growing.”

It’s essential for us to always be learning, expanding, and adding to our armory of useful skills and knowledge. However, it’s also important to know the difference between a sledgehammer and a screwdriver in order to best apply each tool to maximum effect. In addressing this practical aspect of our tool box inventory, I think it’s most important to know your most powerful tool, what it is and how to use it.

So, what is the MOST POWERFUL TOOL in your tool box?

It might surprise you, but it’s NEUTRALITY.

I suppose a more obvious answer would be Love or Compassion. Perhaps even Empathy. Certainly, my training and certification in Brené Brown’s work would suggest that Empathy is a very powerful tool. But it’s not the most powerful. Neutrality is.

But to fully understand Neutrality, we have to also understand what it’s not.

Neutrality is not a reaction, nor is it a response. Neutrality is not lack of connection, compassion, love, understanding or empathy. There is no “lack” in Neutrality. It includes all those things.

Conversely, Neutrality is not full of any one characteristic either. It’s not Love, and it’s not Empathy. Nor is it compassion and understanding – but it is a form of connection. In a way.

Neutrality is presence. And through that presence is a connection to your Self. Your inner knowing and your core essence. It’s not passive, rather it’s an incredibly active and deliberate way of being, of relating.

At its core, neutrality is 100% authenticity, wrapped in integrity, and expressed as presence.

Neutrality is a tool that allows you to be present, without giving away or allowing someone to take your power. It can be passionate in its sure-footedness, without being emotionally charged. It allows for the acceptance of “both-and” thinking where two things can be true (i.e.: someone can be behaving like a jerk, and also be a kind person).

For me, a lighthouse is the ultimate symbol of Neutrality. It stands its ground and does what it does really well. A lighthouse knows it can neither change the storm nor navigate the ship. A lighthouse allows for both the storm and the ship to pass as they will, without judgment. This, in turn, allows the lighthouse to keep being a lighthouse, free from the ebbs and flows of emotionality.

Power resides in this freedom, which is why practicing Neutrality is the most powerful tool in your tool box.

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!

YES and NO

What is the most powerful thing you’ve done? Or that you can think of?

For me, when I think about Power, an image from a scene in The Matrix pops up. It’s the moment toward the very end where Neo (Keanu Reeves) stops in the hallway, turns to his attackers, and simply says, “No.”

The entire infrastructure begins to unravel. Neo rejects the reality he had been forced to accept, and in that singular moment what was deemed “real” begins to fall away. The way things have always been done is challenged with a single-syllable two-letter word.

No.

There can be a lot of Power in the word “no.” It’s about taking a stand. I have a phrase I started using with my clients: “stand in your boots.” (I even stand up and do it and ask them to join me.)

Stand up for yourself.
Stand firm.
Stand tall.
Stand.

Standing is all about owning your space, your presence, in the world.

Similarly, the word “yes” is equally as powerful… when you’re saying it to yourself.

Yes.

Saying “yes” to yourself is about acknowledging and embracing your validity in the world. It’s about honoring your place, your purpose and your truth.

“Yes” and “no” are Power-full words. They invite the potential of the Universe to a seat at the table, your table – where your dreams can become your reality.

What and If

Two (somewhat) harmless words on their own, yet when combined “what” and “if” carry the entire power of the Universe in 6 letters that can be simultaneously destructive and/or creative.

Here’s the difference:

“What if” is attached to the most creative and infinite power of all: imagination. As a tool for exploration and innovation, these two little words open up endless possibilities. Dreams become realities.

However, “what if” when used in hindsight becomes the harbinger of shame, blame and despair. The ‘shoulda-coulda-woulda’ of that which was not done or seen. The hallmark of regret and the key that unlocks the abode of fear within the mind.

Six letters, two words…powerful beyond measure, and what separates how they are used, is you.

On Forgiveness

“Lucy…you have some ‘splaining to do!”  Who doesn’t remember that famous line from “I Love Lucy” – it’s a classic!

Well, friends, borrowing from Ricky, I have to say that I have some forgivin’ to do. Or I did. I felt stuck in some ways, and wasn’t sure why. I move forward deliberately in life, and I continually make progress – but recently I noticed recurrent thoughts playing out in the background of my soundtrack, like another story line. I’d be driving, and suddenly think of something that caused feelings of resentment or regret and the needle would get stuck on the record playing the same song over and over again – never loud enough to just turn it off, but just softly enough to raise my awareness to something that was stuck. On repeat. Annoying me. Time to take a look!

What I found was that I was harboring negative emotions toward others (ok, and myself) because of some past actions and events. These were things that no longer played an active role in my life, things I had moved on from, and things I no longer considered on a conscious level. But there they were, like white noise, stirring up old emotions I thought I had dealt with. Nope. Time to forgive.

So, here’s the thing…forgiveness is about us. Ourselves. Not the other person. It’s a simple truth: Forgiveness is a gift one gives to oneself. I know this. But then I wondered – Does forgiveness need to be face to face? Or, is it possible that the energy of forgiveness itself is enough to release us from the shackles that bind us to resentment, anger, hurt, and frustration? I believe it is. Here’s why:

Forgiveness is an offering. Therefore, it can be shared with another anonymously and be equally as effective. Its power lies not in whether it’s accepted by someone else, whether that person embraces or validates the forgiveness. Its power lies in the act itself. The decision to release ourselves from the imprisonment of the limiting negative emotions is powerful. To acknowledge the hurt and suffering we experienced as a result of something typically outside our control is powerful. It’s not about denying the event or transgression, rather it’s making a statement that what happened no longer fits our lives and then choosing to step out of it like an old and tired piece of clothing that has dropped to the floor.

Forgiveness, then, is a solitary act that does not require reciprocity, validation or acceptance by another to be effective. It asks only that our intentions be clear and our heart be true.

So, back to my own forgiveness. What did I do? I wrote letters. I wrote letters to each person or group that was holding me back because they had hurt me in some way, and I forgave. From my heart I forgave them and embraced myself. Did I send the letters? No. I folded them up and plan to burn them on the next full moon, releasing all of their energy. I did keep one, though. The one to myself. Because after writing the others, I realized I needed to forgive myself the most for choosing to hold on to the negative emotions (and giving them space in my brain and heart) when they weren’t serving my greater good. That letter is in my God box where it can contribute energetically to my ongoing growth in love and compassion. Cool.

Black & White

So, one of my favorite cookies in the world are called ‘black and whites.’ I grew up with them in the NYC area, though I am not sure where they originated.

Whole Foods carries a mini-version of them, which is delicious, though not exactly the same as you would get in a NY bakery. Half cookie, half cake, coated with dark chocolate and vanilla/lemon glaze – they’re incredible. But I digress…

This week, the “black and white” I refer to is the printed word. As I sit here among billions, perhaps trillions, of printed words (I’m in a bookstore), I am thinking about the freedom with which we use words to create feelings, actions or situations. It’s quite a responsibility. One wrong word can cause chaos, just as a few beautifully placed words can create unparalleled joy. The bottom line is words have power beyond their significance.

So, I was intrigued recently while reading a travel guide to discover the use of the word “earthed” instead of “grounded.” I guess they mean the same thing, though ‘grounded’ is vastly more familiar – especially in the healing arena. But what about “earthed?” Well, in this context it was referring to electrical appliances and plugs. The guidebook said, “for appliances that need to be earthed.” Perhaps this is common usage of the word in other countries, but it was a first for me. And it won’t be a last. I LOVE this word. It’s rare, unique and incredibly descriptive.

In exploring the possible difference between the two words, it’s important to first understand what it means to be grounded in the energetic/spiritual sense. The most common form of “grounding” is with the earth. We are organic matter, the earth is organic matter, and we are both made up of energy. Therefore, to connect with the earth is to “ground” yourself with her and her energy. We do this through meditation and chakra visualization exercises – specifically the first, also known as the “root chakra.” By energetically connecting with the Earth, we center ourselves, create balance, wellness and strength, to where we truly feel connected with something greater than ourselves, deeply and solidly.

To be grounded means to connect with that of which you are a part. Yet it also somehow maintains a distinct separation between the two identities. Perhaps this is because we also refer to the surface of the earth as the “ground.” It creates a visual of standing upon – still two separate entities. In contrast, if you are earthed, it almost feels as though you become one with the earth. As if the earth were to swallow you up, surround you completely, cradle you in her soil and provide peace, strength and protection to your person. To be earthed gives me a sense of becoming wholly part of her as one life force. I am no longer standing on soil; I am soil. It simply feels different.

This is why I like the use of the word “earthed.” It is so much more descriptive for me. If someone were to say to me, “I am grounded,” I would be pleased for him or her. If, instead, I were to hear, “I am earthed,” I would take note, because the sensation I experience when a visual image pops into my mind in association with that statement is far more detailed, weighted and complete than that which appears when I hear the first statement. I may be unique in this, but I wager that given the opportunity, many others would share in my experience.

Which brings me back into the bookstore. Here, I feel grounded – not earthed. Is there a distinction? I think there is. Though both may be used interchangeably, as so many other words are also used, I will choose when to use each, deliberately and with clarity of intention. Once more we return to the issue of the power of words. And I ask you this: Is their power inherent in their definitions and our linguistic connotations? Or could it be that their power lies in our intentions and conscious choice in using them? What do you think? Spend a day listening to what people are saying to you, then spend another day listening to yourself as you speak to others. You decide where the power lies.

In Love and Light,

Martina

Living Optimally

So – it’s been a week, and what a week it’s been. Yours truly has been knocked down by the flu. Not sure whether it was just the common flu or the H1N1 strain – but whatever it was, it definitely got me. Which brings me to this week’s topic: Living Optimally.

A dear friend of mine recently shared her new life mantra with me, and I love it. It’s “Be happy now.” What does that mean exactly? Well, my interpretation is that it means that she is making decisions based on that idea. For example: if there is a choice to make between two things (as many of us experience this holiday season), she might look at the options through the filter of what will support her mantra of being happy now. Living in the moment. Too often we feel obligated to accept all invitations. As such, social commitments sometimes become a chore or a task, rather than a celebration. Now – this isn’t to say that you have to turn people down, but it does put a different perspective on things. If you have two holiday parties to go to on the same night, then you have the power to make the decision to choose one or the other – or both! More importantly, however, you also have the power to CHOOSE how you are going to approach the evening. Will you look at it as an overwhelming commitment? Or will you look at it as an opportunity to celebrate relationships and enjoy the moment? It’s your choice. Be happy now.

But let’s take this back to my experience with the flu. Last week I told you about Dr. Darren and Dr. Tom’s work. A major part of their work incorporates the idea of The Five Basics for Optimal Health, which are: ‘The quantity, quality, and frequency of water, food, rest, exercise and owning one’s power.” Of course, this is nothing new to most of us – except for, possibly, the “owning one’s power” part. But that relates back to what I just said about choice. As for the other four pieces – well, they’re just common sense, aren’t they? Or are they? If they were that simple – the weight loss industry and health care industry wouldn’t be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. So, where’s the disconnect?

In my opinion, it’s that last piece: owning your power. Owning your power means making a decision. Just like my friend has done in deciding to “be happy now” – it’s the decisions that drive us either toward health and wellness, or dysfunction and disease. If we want a quick-fix solution to a life-long problem, that’s a choice. And it might mean spending the rest of your life searching for the solution – rather than choosing a long-term strategy. But what about when things like the flu epidemic take place? I considered myself to be fairly healthy with a strong immune system, but I still got knocked down. Why? Was it something I did? Could I have done something different? Was I living optimally before I got sick? The answer is no – to all of those questions. I was not living optimally, however, there was also nothing I did to cause it, and there was nothing I could have done differently to prevent it, because that’s in the past. Going forward, however, I can make different choices.

I can choose to drink better water, more often, in larger amounts. I can also choose to go to bed earlier, and sleep better – giving my body more opportunity for rest and restoration. Food and exercise will also play a role. By making a deliberate decision to incorporate more fruits and vegetables, as well as daily movement in any form, I will be providing my body with the best possible scenario to heal and become stronger. The best part is, by making these decisions I will be owning my own power. In a way, it’s both a catalyst and a happy side effect of living a healthier life. It’s cyclical, and it will fuel itself.

One more thing, though – a big part of owning my power is also making the choice not to shame myself (and feel guilt) if I should choose something defined as “less healthy.” Life is about moderation, and life is about choices. A bowl of ice cream or a side order of French fries is a choice – it’s also a choice to feel happy about it and enjoy it fully, or to feel guilt about it and remorse. THAT is truly owning your power. So, just as my friend has embraced her own power by creating a mantra by which she lives her life, so can you. Every morning you have a choice to make on how you will approach your day. And every night, when you are lying in bed about to fall asleep, you have the power to choose how you will look back on your day and your choices. It’s up to you. Once you begin owning your power, the rest will naturally start falling into place. Amazing. And it all begins with you….with your choices.

THree THings

Body – What do you choose to drink first thing when you wake up in the morning? Water or coffee? Which one is more consistent with living optimally? Coffee is fine, but when you wake up, your body has become more dehydrated overnight. A glass of water might wake you up faster than the caffeine would.

Mind – If you find yourself feeling guilt about something – it’s probably an old pattern of belief. Pause. Give yourself a break, and see if you can make a decision to think differently.

Spirit – Honoring yourself is the greatest gift. It will give you the strength to take the initial steps toward living optimally.

In Love and Light,

Martina