Leaps of Faith…Insight from Martha

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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.)

Freedom From Fear…Insight From Martha

Polar Bear (Sow), Near Kaktovik, Barter Island, AlaskaLately I’ve become thoroughly exasperated with the part of my tiny brain that insists on continuously creating fear. Fear of dying soon. Fear of living too long. Fear of being alone. Fear of being spread out too thin between loved ones. Fear of drought. Fear of flooding. Fear of change. Fear of things staying the same.

ENOUGH, ALREADY!

I’ve tried suppressing my fear. It gets stronger. I’ve tried looking for the bright side, which simply focuses my mind on the inevitable dark side. I’ve tried medication, meditation, mediation, and a host of other ations. None of them worked. But recently, I’ve discovered something that does.

Here’s the thing: we can’t save ourselves from fear by seeking safety, because safety always means there’s something to be safe from—in other words, something to fear. The way out of fear isn’t safety. It’s freedom.

For a few weeks, I’ve been replacing every fearful thought in my head with a loving-kindness wish to be free from that specific fear.

  • When I’m scared that all the polar bears will die, I don’t say “Keep the polar bears alive!” until I’ve said, “May I be free from my fear for the polar bears.”
  • When I’m sure I have some dire illness, I don’t think “I must be healthy forever!”  I think, “May I be free from my fear of illness.”
  • When I miss someone, I don’t pester the person with needy phone calls.  I think, “May I be free from my fear of separation.”
  • Etcetera.

This request for freedom has been granted with subtle but remarkable power. I’ve had one of the calmest months on record. Freedom is landing me in peace, a state from which I function far more effectively—and safely—than anxiety. So feel free to try it. Really. Feel free.

I Approve: The Value of Equality

There are those rare individuals who cannot be distracted by the external markers of success—things like social rank, wealth, education level, and professional status. These individuals behave in ways that quietly but effectively elevate the lowly and humble the arrogant. How do they do it? They ignore two common misconceptions and act instead on bedrock read more…