Category Archives: words

Words. Words – words – words…

Why are the words we use so important?

Do you remember being a child and knowing that there were were words you were forbidden to use? Mostly, as a child they were swear words, but there were also a few other words in my childhood that were classified as ‘unacceptable.’

As I grew older, my awareness of language and the acceptability of certain words grew with me. Certainly, as the advent of “political correctness” gained ground even more words were added to the list of unacceptable language… though, admittedly, cussing was more tolerated when I became an adult. In fact, I’d suggest it was almost expected, like a right of passage. But I digress.

The question remains: Why are words so important?

Beyond the obvious, such as not using offensive terminology, I have come to understand through study and experience that words are of utmost importance, because they carry energy. Words, just like everything else in life, have energy.

You’ve probably heard that “intention” and “tone” are what matter behind people’s words, and that’s true. But the words themselves also matter. Because words are the tools that build our life. They are the vehicles of our experience, our reality. In other words:

Your thoughts become your reality on the backs of your words.

Words matter. They are the building blocks of every type of manifesting and creative force in the Universe. Thoughts are integral to the process as they are often the catalyst for change, but it’s words that bring it to life.


When the mighty fall… do their words fall with them?

What happens when our “inspirers” fall? Do their words fall with them?

I was thinking about this recently when I was trying to remember a quote that had inspired me. It was Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.

“The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.”

I wrongly attributed it to Bill Cosby, because he had once said something that felt similar, yet different. (Interestingly, Einstein may not have said it either, as this brief article explains.) The Cosby quote was:

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

See? Similar, but different. Well, in my mind anyway. I love both of those quotes. I also love Kevin Spacey’s quote about what it means to help others when you’ve had success.

“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.”

And this is where I got stuck as I meandered down the rabbit hole of inspirational words. Both Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby have fallen from grace. I wouldn’t label either one as a mentor or leader, or even an inspirer, anymore. And yet…

And yet, at some point in time, they were. They were inspired by simple truths and in so being, they shared that inspiration in their words to inspire others. Does their fall mean their words fall with them? Are their words less inspiring, because of their actions? 

I’m not sure I know the answer to this – or rather, I’m not sure there is only one answer to this. I think many people will think and feel differently about it – and that’s 100% correct. Why? Because inspiration is highly individualized. While there is a lot of overlap, there is also a lot of individuation. For example, someone shared something with me recently that they found to be “life-changing” and they couldn’t understand why I didn’t. I didn’t because it wasn’t meant for me. It was meant for them to hear in that particular moment in that particular way on their journey. Inspiration.

My friend, Tom, once shared the best words of wisdom with me, because they were exactly what I needed at that time. He said, “There’s nothing ‘new’ in what people are saying, in what you’re saying, it’s all been said before for millennia. What’s new about you, is how you’re saying it. You say it in your own way, which is inspiring to those who need to hear it… that way.” I have paraphrased him, of course, because it was many years ago. But it was perfect. It was perfect, because it was exactly what I needed to hear. I have since shared those words with others, and it has both fallen flat and empowered. So, yes, inspiration is unique to everybody.

But, I also think inspiration, at its core, is brought forth from something outside ourselves. As such, if it’s palpable, it probably outlives its human source eventually… as it should.

Nobody truly owns the inspiration they’ve been gifted to share, even with all the intellectual property laws we have. As Tom said, there’s nothing truly new in the field of inspiration – only new ways of saying it. So even though it would be nice to say “those are my words,” the truth is more accurately stated: I was gifted with those words to share, to inspire, and to help. So, it was my responsibility and my opportunity to speak them, the way that I did, to meet that end in that moment.

Which brings me back to Cosby and Spacey. If we can separate out the words – the inspiration – from the human, we might be able to answer the question “When the mighty fall, do their inspired words fall with them?” with a simple: No, not if they inspire you.

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!

The Two C’s That Make the Holidays Stressful

One of the reasons we have so many arguments and disagreements with family during the holidays is because we engage in the practice of Competing and Comparing. Here’s what I’m talking about…

There’s a difference between saying,

“I make my potatoes differently,” and “I make my potatoes differently.”

See?…. No?

Yeah, it’s not obvious is it, not without tone and inflection – which is to say, not without intention. It’s the exact same phrase, nothing more than an observation perhaps, but the intention changes everything. But…

A passing observation is rarely passing if it’s speckled with comparison and competition.

If an external value system is placed on the item in question (potatoes), then comparison is immediately included in the intention (“different” becomes “better”). Comparison is better or worse. Once we have attached a value to it, it opens the door for competition, which internalizes the comparison. (aka: I’m better because my potatoes are better.) Whoa! And therein lies the problem, because it can be said or received either way. We don’t control how others receive our statements, of course, but we can certainly control how we say them.

So, how do you navigate the holiday season with less stress, arguing and disagreement? Raise your awareness to Comparison and Competition, and choose something different.

Sub-text, second-level dialogue, and assumptions are all fodder for Comparison and Competition. Once we engage in either we create opportunity for disagreement and argument, hurt feelings and frustration. So, it’s easy to see why the holidays can be fraught with strife for so many as families gather together to celebrate. Keeping the two C’s in check can lead to more enjoyable holidays together now and in the future.

Finally, when in doubt, it’s best to choose gratitude. Regardless of how the potatoes are made, a simple “Thank you for making the potatoes” goes a lot further than any passing observation ever could (even if Aunt Bernie’s potato recipe is awesome). There’s little room for disagreement when gratitude is shared.

Words, Gratitude and a MISSION!

“Changing the world by changing lives, one person at a time.”

That was my “old” motto/slogan. (Can I call it old if it’s only been 5 years?) I suppose in this day and age of digital everything; it’s almost ancient, actually. But it’s still valid today – and it will be valid every day, for the rest of my life and beyond. So it’s really very very new. ☺

It’s what I believe. It’s what I do, and I think it’s what I’ve always done. It’s what I choose every day that I wake up. I believe it’s a choice to chat with a clerk in a store, to engage in a conversation with a friend, to share an article or quote that we find inspiring, to hug or call someone who’s hurting, and to simply look a stranger in the eye and smile. These are choices I make to connect with the world around me, and I carry them forward in my coaching, writing and teaching.

What you don’t know is: Growing up, I used to think I could only change the world if I became a successful and famous (insert profession here), and then joined the UN Ambassador program to highlight areas of need. I used to think I had to do something notable and noteworthy in order to make a dent in the world for the better. I know a lot more since then, and I’m glad that’s not the only way to go about things, but sometimes my mind wanders back to those thoughts and ideas, and I wonder…

Then, as a reminder, last October I received this unexpected email from a reader:

Hi Martina,

Thanks for the gift of your words.

I forwarded this to a friend who is recovering from being involved with (someone)…
And your words lifted her world tremendously !

You’ve touched many today!

(name withheld)

I still fill with gratitude reading it. I am still in awe at the power of words to change someone’s life, and I am humbled by the fact that they came through me. (And THANK YOU my dear reader for sharing with me.)

So now I’m modifying my MISSION (formerly a motto/slogan) ever-so-slightly to more accurately reflect who I am and what I do:

Changing the world by changing lives –
one person, one moment, one word at a time.

I know this is possible. In fact, it’s more than that – it’s probable! So let’s do this together! All it takes is a smile, a hug, or even a word to change somebody’s world. Are you ready to join in?

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.

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,