Category Archives: reflection

A Desert Sojourn

Last week I donned my old retailing hat and went to Vegas to help my friend set up trade show booths for his clients. Before I helped people change their lives, I used to be a Buyer and Fashion Stylist. While I’ve left the retail job behind, twice a year I get to be a stylist again by helping my friend. It’s nice to use a different skill set now and then. Refreshing, even.

What’s more refreshing, however, is taking a break from our daily lives in order to do/see/experience something totally new and extraordinary. On this recent trip, we had just such an opportunity.

We found ourselves with a day off in the midst of the chaos, and so we went out of the city and explored the high desert and mountains surrounding the electrified valley. The juxtaposition was somewhat difficult to comprehend. In hindsight, however, I see it as much more symbolic of our lives than not.

On the one hand, we all seem to live busy outward lives, filled with work, family, friends, technology, physical exertion, and mental exhaustion/ (I know I do.) On the other hand, and in almost the same space, we seek out opportunities for calm, ease, and grace, such as walks in nature, meditation, a massage, long talks with old friends, and breathing. (I definitely do.)

This juxtaposition of inner peace and external stress has become almost common in our culture. It’s a balance that is not always easily maintained, however, because there are no firm lines. Whereas, in the desert, the lines are very clear. You know exactly when you are leaving the external chaos behind and entering the calm of nature, and vice versa.

But, because the line is so firmly drawn, it made it even harder for me to transition between the two last week. Going from a heartbreakingly beautiful landscape devoid of noise or human presence directly into the lines at an In-N-Out Burger was overwhelming, at best. As you can imagine, I didn’t last long, and we moved outside to eat, which was somewhat quieter and easier.

So, I guess the bottom line is this: We all live busy externally-focused lives in one way or another, and we all have an internal longing for or knowing of peace and calm. How we transition between the two is where we find opportunities for change, growth, and understanding. And ultimately, it’s where we will find the answers in how to merge the two into one presence, that softens the inherent juxtaposition.

All this from a trip to the desert followed by a burger. 😉

And now…here are some of my favorite pics from our excursion. Truly, if you ever go to Vegas, it’s worth it to spend a little time outside the city limits. You may feel lost in the vast expanse, but I think you’ll find more than you could ever imagine.

Remembering and Reflecting

Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the USA. Historically, for me that has meant a day off of work, perhaps a barbecue with family and/or friends, and maybe some fireworks somewhere. When I was younger there might have been a parade. It was festive, relaxing, and fun.

This Memorial Day, I decided to sit down and really reflect on what it means to me to remember the service men and women of this country. I began by searching my memory banks of family and friends for all the people I know who have gone into service. It turns out the list was a lot longer than I originally thought it would be.

It starts with my grandfather, who was a member of the cavalry. I actually still have his belt from that time, stored away in my keepsake trunk. It’s dry and tattered, and I love it. He was a good man, who did his best by his family, and I loved his laugh.

Beyond my grandfather, I have cousins, friends, friends of friends, ex-boyfriends, former classmates, and other relatives who have signed up to serve at one time or another. It seems that at most stages of my life I’ve known someone who has served my country. What a remarkable thing, considering the draft was eliminated shortly after I was born.

I then reflected on a couple of these people in particular, and how I feel about their decision to sign up for such an unknowable endeavor. You see, the thing is, when you sign up for service, if something happens, you go. It’s not optional. You can’t suddenly decide you don’t want to be in a war, tired and hungry, scared and homesick. You go. Whether you feel ready or not, whether you want to or not, whether you agree with it or not – you go.

And that’s what struck me the most when I truly sat down to think about the decision to join the armed forces. The sacrifice is not only in the loss of life that we hear about with each operation, but it’s in the willingness to sign up without any guarantee of what that ultimately means. There is no way to know that when you enlist there won’t be a war the following day. You can hope there isn’t, but there’s no promise. There’s only the promise you have made on the day you decided to serve: that you will go, no matter what. And that, to me, is what’s most extraordinary.

I can’t think of any other decision that is so filled with faith and hope. To agree to do something, without truly knowing what that may entail, is the greatest leap of faith I can imagine. For that reason (and so many more) I sit in awe and deep gratitude for those who have made the decision to serve their country. Thank you. xo

Manifesting and Reflecting

As the days are getting shorter, the year is coming to a close, and we are entering the holiday season with Thanksgiving next week – I feel it is time to prepare ourselves.

Typically, we look back after Christmas, and then in a hurried fashion we think about the year ahead. We make our New Year’s resolutions, and we reflect on what we did (or didn’t) accomplish these past 12 months. After 5-6 weeks of holiday feasts, parties and celebrations, it’s no doubt that the focus of our attention is usually on returning to a more moderate lifestyle – complete with diets and exercise. But what if we didn’t wait until the last minute to begin our reflections and, more importantly, our manifestations for the coming year?

By waiting until after the holiday hangover begins, our manifestations have a greater chance of coming from a place of excess or, perhaps even, punishment for how we’ve spent the last few weeks in celebration. They are reactionary. Whereas, if we begin our reflections now, and allow ourselves the time to truly focus on manifesting the coming year from a place of thoughtful consideration – think of the possibilities!

Thanksgiving is typically spent with our loved ones, pausing in gratitude, as we appreciate and share our blessings and the year we have just experienced. In that process, don’t forget that you are a “loved one” as well. Remember to pause with yourself, and reflect on the blessings you have created in your own life. This reflection will bring you to your focus for your manifestations. Through honoring yourself, you honor those around you. There is no greater gift.

Therefore, in preparation for the holidays, the coming year, and the great opportunities in your future, I invite you into a space of empowerment. “Resolutions” is just a reactive word for manifestation. More importantly, however, manifestation has an added connotation of being empowering. So – what do you desire in your life? How can you focus your attention on manifesting better health, relationships and serenity? By starting now, I can almost guarantee that your holidays will be more enjoyable. Why? Because you will be approaching them from a position of love: Love for others, for your future, and mostly, for yourself.

THree THings

Body – Think of the past year and what changes you have already made – then thank yourself. Once you’ve done that, think of new modifications you would like to consider, and why? Write them down this way: What if….

Mind – Time spent in reflection is valuable, if the reflection yields opportunities for growth. (If reflection is merely an occasion to shame yourself – then I would suggest you spend as little time as possible reflecting on the past.) Time spent looking forward is valuable, if it brings with it actionable steps for change. How are you spending your time?

Spirit – Your intuition will always lead you in the “right” direction. Right does not mean “not wrong” – instead, it means “loving.” Therefore, your intuition will always lead you toward greater love – for yourself, and, eventually, others. Can you hear your intuition? Do you know how to access it without ego and judgment? It’s always there, and it always loves you. Do you know that?

In love and light,

Martina