Category Archives: searching for answers

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.

Exploring

In honor of Columbus Day, I decided to look at exploration and its role today. First a definition: “Explore – [ik-splawr, -splohr] 1) to traverse or range over for the purpose of discovery; 2) to look into closely; 3) to investigate into, esp. mechanically, as with a probe; and 4) to search for, search out.” Though the age of the Great Explorers is generally over, I think that it actually continues to this very day – every day. For aren’t we all, in our own way, explorers?

Let me explain. If, in fact, exploring means to look into something closely, or to go over or across something for the purpose of discovery – then I maintain that we are all explorers every day that we wake up. Think about it: at your job and in your relationships, you spend time looking at things quite closely, searching for things: answers, solutions, ideas. We spend most of every day doing our best to improve something. That, in itself, is the essence of exploration. When we try to improve the productivity at our work, or when we attempt to improve our relationships with loved ones, we are exploring new ground with each thought, emotion and feeling we address. We pioneer new ways of thinking, acting and relating to one another. We do things differently than we did the day before, or month before, or year before. And we do this all because we are searching for something more, something better. We know it’s out there – we don’t always know how to get to it, but we keep on exploring and pushing forward.

As someone who has surrendered to a life of active exploration, I know firsthand the challenges and rewards that come with this kind of pioneering. It is one of the most difficult and wonderful things I have ever done. I am a student of the world and everything it has to offer, both the beautiful and the less-than-beautiful. I experience things with new eyes every day, and I can experience the same things with jaded eyes a short while later. I have been hurt, and I have hurt others. I have felt love, joy and peace – and (I hope) I have shared those same gifts with the world. Exploring means not only being open to the many wonders and treasures of the Universe, but also being open to the darker side of things, and accepting its role. For without the darkness, there can be no light. Every good thing needs its opposite to reinforce its existence. Just as day has night, and dark has light – so, too, does exploration include wondrous discovery and seemingly unbearable hardship. Sacrifice seems to be an integral part of exploration.

But what are we sacrificing when we explore better ways of being in a relationship with someone we love? For some, they sacrifice the comfort of being able to choose what to do, whenever they want to do it: total independence. For others, they may be sacrificing having the cap put back on the toothpaste, or the dishes cleaned every night. The size of the sacrifice is entirely subjective. It may not bother me that the towels aren’t hung on the rack properly, but it may bother you. We each sacrifice things in our own way, in order to reap the rewards of something greater. And every day we create new ways to enhance and improve what we already have, we become explorers. That’s what the Great Discoverers knew. They had no idea what was out there – they just “knew” there was something more, perhaps something better, something that would enhance their lives and the lives of their people. It was this kind of knowing that propelled them forward, as it does for us. We may not be aware of what lies ahead for us in our jobs or relationships, but we do know that in exploring growth and change, we become open to the possibility of something better.

It is an understatement to say that many in today’s world are searching for answers to tough questions. As an example, many people want or wonder about “enlightenment” and “inner peace.” Collectively, we are beginning to become a society of explorers once more. This exploration is an inner journey – far more profound than trips around a once flat world, though equally as important in setting aside old belief systems and thought patterns. As you go about your day, what beliefs or habits are you willing to challenge and explore? Are there alternatives to your established mode of doing things? Just as the Great Explorers helped to discover an alternative route to the Orient what new routes to peace, love, happiness and wellness in your relationships are you willing to create? What new paths of productivity are you willing to pave at work? Something to think about.

THree THings

Body – If you’ve always done the same exercise; what would happen if you changed it up once or twice a week? If you’re a runner, what would tai chi do for you? If you practice yoga, how about trying spinning?

Mind – There are so many wonderful opportunities to learn on our planet. If you have always been a sports fan – have you ever tried opera? Or if you love classical music, have you also been open-minded enough to hear the artistry in the rhyme of rap? Other cultures, languages, food, art, history, religion – there’s so much out there waiting for you. What would you do, if you had three extra hours today to learn something new?

Spirit – As always, the Spirit is the door through which all internal exploration begins. What have you always wondered about, deep inside? If you have a burning question that has slowly fizzled into a glowing ember, but remains lit inside your core – perhaps it’s time to pick up a book, or find a lecture, or talk to a teacher. Perhaps it’s time to fan that flame a little and awaken your Spirit on this path of exploration. What do you think? Aren’t you just a little curious?

In love and light,

Martina