Creating Your Right Life

inspiration & tools for empowered living

0817
2014

The Benevolent Guide…Insight from Martha

A few days ago, my partner Karen’s beloved father passed away after a long illness. It was a very gradual departure; for weeks, everyone thought that each hour might be Charlie’s last. The days immediately following his passing were unthinkably grueling for Karen and her family, but I’ll say this for imminent death: it clearly differentiates the things that matter from the things that don’t. Being together matters; how we look doesn’t. Love matters; status doesn’t. Having a roof over our heads matters; having a mansion doesn’t. Peace matters so much that by comparison, literally nothing else does.

A few months ago an interviewer asked me, “What are you most grateful for?” and I found myself cheerfully blurting, “Death!” There was a long silence, and then I stammered, “Er, well, it’s nice to think we don’t have to just, you know, keep doing stuff.” The interviewer did not seem to be going there with me. Oh, well, I thought; when I’m dying it won’t matter what she thinks of me. And then I remembered: We’re all dying!  

Getting past the fear this creates has been a life’s work for me—a work very much still in progress. But after schlepping away at it for years, I now feel more awe and wonder than dread of death, and the knowledge of its inevitability gives me permission to do more and more of what matters, less and less of what doesn’t. In Africa, where I spent June, I had few possessions, no telephone or email, a very simple schedule. Since returning I’ve given away most of my clothes and set out to minimize things like unnecessary meetings, housework, correspondence, and especially thoughts that distract me from the amazement of being alive for a little while.

Think about whatever you have planned for the next few hours. Would you do this thing if you were currently helping a loved one cross the threshold of death? Will this thing matter to you at all when you’re the one crossing that threshold? If not, stop. Do something that matters in the face of mortality. Living this way makes death a benevolent guide that shows you how to create the best possible life you can have. And doing that brings peace, the peace that matters so much that nothing else can ever compare.

0706
2014

Leaps of Faith…Insight from Martha

Hello from Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, where I’m happily ensconced with several intrepid companions enjoying the African STAR (Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat). 

When I told an acquaintance that I lead seminars in the African bush, she responded, “Oh, my God, how did you get that job?” The long answer is: 1) This isn’t a job, it’s my passion; and 2) My friends and I made it up. The short answer is: I drink my own Kool-Aid. 

My coaching is all about following your inner compass; it makes you feel free and exhilarated when you’re headed toward your right life, shut down and joyless when you’re not. Just follow the good feelings, and you’ll have an awesome ride on Spaceship Earth.

That premise has led me to actions I never, ever thought I’d take: Having a son with Down syndrome. Spending twenty years (and counting) with a soulmate who happens to be female. Writing books that many people think are just plain nuts. (These people may be right.) But when I come to a crossroad, I really truly do check my inner compass and take whatever leap of faith takes me toward my own north star. Otherwise, I’d never ask you to do the same.

Living this way is an indescribable feeling, a feeling that makes one wish devoutly for more access to horse tranquilizers. It’s always scary. It never pleases everyone. But it also takes us to beauty, joy, love, and mystery beyond imagining. Today, for me, that happens to be Africa.

What is it for you?

What leap of faith is your compass telling you to do next? If it’s easy, cheap, logical, and socially acceptable, lucky you! If it’s terrifying, expensive, weird, and a little crazy, lucky you! Feel the fear and do it anyway. That’s the real Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat. It will take you to a place just as lovely as Londolozi. When you get there, don’t forget to write.

P.S. For extra credit, take a picture of yourself breaking one of your rules and post it on our Facebook page. (Just remember that “Martha told me to” does not a plea bargain make.)

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