Creating Your Right Life

inspiration & tools for empowered living

0909
2012

Real Magic… Insight from Martha

 

So, we just finished our very first Wayfinder Workshop. It was a FABULOUS experience for me—and let’s face it, who else matters? (I am kidding!) By targeting my last book to people who already feel their magic, I appear to have achieved two things: convincing most of the reading public that I am certifiably insane, and inviting the most awesome people on earth to come play with creating a new way of being in the world. We held the seminar on Pismo Beach, California, for reasons I will describe in a minute.
 
The first day, as we stood on the beach, some of us used the animal-calling exercise described in Finding Your Way In A Wild New World. By the following day, so many whales were surfacing off Pismo Beach that it made the national news. I watched them playing for an hour during our lunch break. My partner, Karen, insists that this is a coincidence, and it probably is. I’M JUST SAYING.
 
The fact is that real magic does not require the grandiosity of a Hollywood movie. When it arrives, one can always trace the way it happened in the physical world. The miracle is always a coincidence in which God chooses to remain anonymous. Magic is glory, not what I call “gloriola.”
 
On that same note, I want to thank anyone who gave so much as a glancing thought to my story about wanting a ranch where I could live close to nature. That miracle is finally a done deal, although I’m still waiting for it to land. This is not a story of “rich person buys a ranch.” This is a story of “wacky person feels compelled to buy something she absolutely cannot afford which she is then somehow able to buy.” Seriously, you guys, I do not know how this happened. All I know is that I can now sit on my front porch watching wild turkeys, deer, foxes, skunks, and potentially a bear (some of the coaches saw him down the road a bit, and there is nothing stopping him from visiting me). Best of all are the bobcats that live on the land. I like to think of them as starter leopards.
 
In short, I live in a three-dimensional miracle—and so do you. Before the Wayfinder Workshop, several tribe members gathered with a Shaman to dedicate the land to the objective of “Restoring Eden”—healing animals, ecosystems, and humans, in any way possible. At one point the Shaman took me aside and said, “Martha. Stop trying.” Without words, she helped me find an incredibly deep flow wave of movement in my lower torso. “There,” she said, “that anchors you and you can let others anchor there as well. Then, let it heal them.”
 
She didn’t say what ‘it’ was, because on one hand it is inexpressible, and on the other hand, once you’ve felt it, there is no need to describe it. It is the TAO. It is Love. It is saturating the air you breathe as you read this. Be still until you can let it find you. That is your only job. And then, what the hell, call some whales. Because that’s AWESOME.

0826
2012

Receive with an Open Heart: Giving and Accepting Gifts of Real Love

You’d be wholeheartedly thrilled with that gift, that compliment, that declaration of affection—if it weren’t for the wary little voice in the back of your mind wondering how you’ll ever be able to reciprocate…or did the giver really mean it…or what’s the catch?

In the long run, we can’t stay emotionally healthy without accepting gifts, both concrete and intangible. Refusing to receive leaves us chronically empty, prone to addiction, obsession, codependency, or an eternal psychological hunger that’s never quite satisfied. The healthy alternative is to stop merely closing down and learn to receive wisely, fully accepting good gifts without being damaged by bad ones.

Unconditional Giving

The secret is this: No matter what happens, keep your heart open. Here’s a way to practice: Take a bill from your wallet that’s large enough that you’d be upset if you lost it—maybe $1, maybe $100. Go to a public place, like a park or mall, and find a spot with sporadic foot traffic. Wait until no one’s looking. Place your money on the ground and retreat to a spot nearby, where you can see whoever finds it. The money is your gift to this person.

Observe your own mind as you wait. You’ll probably find that you’re running an inner monologue on subjects like worthiness, appropriateness, justice. You may hope a poor child finds the money, while your heart clenches at the thought of an addict buying drugs with it, or a lawyer sliding it into an Armani pocket. But no matter who discovers the cash, just watch them pick it up, then silently wish them well. If your giving capacity is out of whack, your receiving capability is likely jammed, too, which means this won’t be easy. What it will be is highly educational. It’s none of your business who finds it, or what they do with it. The goal is to reach a place where you could watch happily as an Enron executive pounced on your ten bucks.

Why should you want this to happen? Because the judgments that constrain your giving are the very demons that are keeping you from receiving. “You don’t deserve that.” “You’d better put it to good use.” “Now you’re obligated.” “You’d better earn it, buddy….” As you teach your own charity to outlast such opinions while giving to other people, you’ll release yourself from having to meet certain criteria (repayment, neediness, poverty) when you are given something.

Receiving What’s Already Yours

Once you’ve learned to give with an open heart, it’s time to receive something. Start with something easy: a gift that’s an accident of birth. Perhaps you’ve accepted your own gifts from time to time, but only in covert moments. If you happen to have gorgeous feet, you may occasionally find yourself gazing at them appreciatively. When you think your way through difficult problems, you might think, “Wow, cool!” Then you clamp down, attack your own ego, search the environs for any witnesses you may have to kill, lest they report to the world that you’re full of yourself.

This isn’t humility; it’s denial. You know darn well what you’ve got, but you’re refusing to receive it, because you believe this protects you from judgment—your own and that of others. It’s time to thank yourself for having this fabulous quality. Say it, out loud or in your head: “Thank you for being so talented!” “Thank you for having great hair!” Don’t be surprised if, once again, you find yourself plowing through the stages of grieving on the way to full acceptance. You may get angry at yourself for your arrogance. You’ll bargain—yeah, you won the Pulitzer, but you didn’t deserve it (this isn’t a hypothetical example; I heard it from a real Pulitzer Prize winner). You’ll get depressed about the fact that your parents don’t really see this gift in you, or that they do but someday they’re going to die. No matter what judgments fly at you, keep repeating, “Thank you for this gift.”

Receiving Objects

Once you’ve begun accepting your own inherent gifts, you’re ready to receive a present from someone else. Find a physical object someone has already given you: a flower, a card, a ring. Stunted receivers have a lot of mixed feelings about such items. You may not feel worthy of the gift, or you may be haunted by fear that you now owe the giver something enormous.

You know the drill by now. Sit with the gift, physically touch it, and say, “Thank you; I accept.” Here it will come again, the emotional whirlwind: denial (“I’m not good enough to deserve this”); anger (“He probably expects me to sleep with him now”); bargaining (“I’ll give her a pie; then I won’t feel so guilty”); depression (“I bet he hates me for not writing a thank-you note”). Touch the object. Say “Thank you; I accept.” Until you really do.

Receiving the Big Kahuna

On the heels of accepting a physical present comes the real prize: accepting the love that motivated the gift. Few givers are perfect, so few gifts come from absolutely pure affection. But if you’ve practiced receiving with an open heart, you’ll be a better judge of which gifts are genuine and which are Trojan horses. When a gift comes with manipulative strings attached—if it’s not really a gift but a disguised bribe—it will feel unpleasant. You can either politely refuse or accept it without becoming vulnerable to exploitation.

The process should be familiar by now. Look back on a time someone gave you a gift of love—even imperfect love. Whatever the gift was (a compliment, companionship, confidence in your basic worth), hold it in your mind and say to the person who gave it, “Thank you; I accept.” Sit still. Hold the gift in your heart. Say “Thank you.”

The worst-case scenario here is that what you thought was love actually wasn’t, that the person to whom you opened your heart was offering no real love at all. In that case, receiving openheartedly will leave you with hope: the shape of love not yet experienced, the DNA-deep knowledge of what you’re meant to have. Once that channel is opened, you’ll be amazed how many gifts are waiting for you to receive them.

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