The Rainstorm After the Calm…Insight from Martha

drought

Photo credit: Kym McLeod

Drought is a strange stressor, a parade of beautiful days that slowly become terrifying. The current drought in California is the worst in history. While the rest of the country shovels snow and preps for floods, we Californians dab on the sunscreen and freak out a little more each day.

I have reached the New Age-y point where I really do see how I’m creating many aspects of my reality: my friendships, my business, my sinus headaches. But so far, this drought has me stumped. I tried controlling it with my mind. It gave me a sunny sneer that lasted more than a year.

So recently, when our beautiful medicine man friend came to visit, my hopes were low. Way low. He stayed for a week, during which the landscape hummed with wild animals and an undeniable electric energy. But when the medicine man blessed some sand, laid it down, and told us it would bring the rain, my hopes were minimal.

The next morning we woke to a dense, drippy fog. The following day it rained. Then a few more foggy mornings, and finally, a day I spent editing a book and looking up every minute or so to relish the fact that, yes, it was still raining. For ten hours.

That night I turned on the local weather report to share the general rejoicing. Confusingly, the sad weather man said that no rain had been reported anywhere. No precipitation anywhere. It seems to have rained for ten hours almost exclusively on my property.

Was this a coincidence? A hallucination? I’ll never really know. California is still in a historically severe drought, clearly a punishment from God.  Or, perhaps, a chance to learn the hard way—really, is there any other way?—that miracles can happen.

Whatever your personal drought (a love drought, a health drought, a money drought), I know how awful it feels. I’ve been all the way through all those droughts, and come out the other side. I’ve learned that one day, when your hopes are so low you finally stop grasping at them, the rains arrive.

Compass v. Culture and Other Wisdom…Insight from Martha

compassAs the seventh of eight children, I was raised with little pressure. For instance, no one at home cared much about my test scores, or even whether I took tests. This was wonderfully freeing but disorienting, so as an adolescent I absorbed the culture of driven materialism that still dominates American society.  

Of course, this created the suffering that arises when we live life from the outside in, rather than the inside out. That blessed &%#$ suffering helped me let go of societal expectations and feel around for my “inner compass.” Ever since, in any argument between Compass v. Culture, I’ve tried to let Compass win.
 
Right now, many of us feel an immense shift in the way humans live in this world.  That shift, while benevolent, comes from within, rather than from our culture. That means your inner compass will inevitably tell you to break society’s expectations. Maybe that’s happening right now. If not, wait a few minutes. It’s coming. 
 
Your counter-cultural impulse may be large (sell everything and become a goatherd), or it may be small (just let your thighs do whatever they freaking want). Maybe you’ll feel like becoming nocturnal, breeding hamsters, or spending hours staring blankly at a wall.
 
You can recognize a Compass v. Culture moment when something you’re “supposed” to do feels like trying to French-kiss a wolverine, and something that “makes no sense” feels incredibly seductive. Personally, I absolutely love staring at walls; it feels blissful enough to be a sin. Go figure.
 
Mind, born in culture, will never understand your inner compass. Soul, so much bigger than culture, may tell you where to go without explaining why. Follow it anyway. If it creates suffering, stop. But if it opens up a road you’ve never imagined, take it. I hope I’ll see you there.

How to Tame Your Fears

Fear is a terrible sensation, one we never, ever want to feel. How lucky we are to live in a time and place where it’s so often possible to avoid the things that scare us most: violence, disease, natural disasters, dangerous animals, and, at least until the very end, death. Instead, we get to sit read more…

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 read more…