From Impossible to I’m Possible


(It Doesn’t Take Much for a Team Member to Turn “Powerlessness” Into Leading From Below) 

If you’ve been reading along with these posts, you know that according to my reckoning, all members of The Team are basically entrepreneurs—literally, people who bring (prendre) something into (entre) being.  This means that none of us has the luxury of fitting into some time-tested social or economic structure, then letting that structure carry us along like fallen leaves in a stream.  Because each person on the Team has a new and unique function to fulfill in the effort to save the world, we have to lead our lives, rather than following any existing pattern.  The only stream that carries Teammates is what Eckhardt Tolle calls “the Unmanifested,” or the non-physical energy that is always creating new patterns.

I’ve also said that the energy of leadership can be exercised in three different ways: up, across, and down.  In other words, we must not only lead people who fall below us in the social power structure, but also people who have similar power, wealth, and status, and finally, people who have social or economic power over us.  (Of course, from the Team’s point of view—the perspective of the mystic—all these power differentials are just illusions.  Moreover, since the only way for a Teammate to lead is to serve others, we’re really talking about offering a particularly pure form of service to anyone we meet, no matter how powerless or powerful they may appear.) 

In this post, I’ll be talking about what sounds like the most paradoxical form of leadership: the kind where—at least from a material perspective—you’re at the bottom of an authority structure, “leading up.”  It’s the one sort of leadership everyone can master, because we all start life as almost completely powerless larva pets.  Some of us—such as abused children who go on to abusive marriages, jobs, or prisons—have never seen ourselves as rising above the bottom rung of any power structure.  That can feel like an awful curse.  Time to turn it into a stroke of fabulous luck.

If you’re on the Team, you see, places of apparent disempowerment are wonderful training grounds.  They’re the very places where you can best learn to lead.  Historically, over and over, Team members have shown this ability to become leaders in precisely the sorts of situations where anyone else would have claimed leadership was “impossible.”  Saints, social activists, artists, and other mystics use difficult situations to create new ways of being for themselves, their associates, and sometimes the whole human race.  They became embodiments of infinite possibility.  “Impossible” became “I’m possible.” 

Okay, I went a long way for that sappy pun.  Please forgive me; I don’t get out much. 

Now, back to our Team leadership lesson.

How to Lead Up: A Practical Guide to a Mystical Phenomenon 

Step One:  Access the Power of the Love Zone


In a previous post, I described aikido exercises you can use to test the fact—and it is a demonstrable fact—that you have more physical power over an opponent when you’re in a place of love and relaxation than when you’re in a state of resistance.  To me, the best thing about the exercises is that you don’t have to love your opponent.  Sustaining a feeling of deep love for anything or anyone makes you stronger than an opponent who’s in the energy of violent struggle.

Many legendary leaders—Buddha, Mother Teresa, several characters played by the young Shirley Temple—have shown an amazing ability to hold the energy of love, and hence became leaders even when they had none of the social trappings of power.  I call this “staying in the Love Zone.”  It’s an essential factor in all Team leadership, the only way any of us can fulfill our personal destinies, and help save the world.  When you’re “leading up,” staying in the Love Zone is especially crucial.  The less power you get from the material world, the more you need to draw on the power of the Zone. 


This power doesn’t even exist in the “non-magical” world, yet it can beat overwhelming odds when it’s exercised with skill.  I love Gandhi’s observation, “There may be tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they may seem invincible, but in the end, they always fail. Think of it: always.”  Of course, after saying this, Gandhi was murdered by a tyrant, so there are still a few bugs in the system.  But you gotta admit, that one small skinhead for peace did a lot of leading from the Love Zone.  He managed to stay there for years, like a pilot riding a blanket of still air with storms raging above, below and all around. 

And you must learn to do the same thing.

Step Two:  Practice Staying Zoned In No Matter What

As a Team member, you have more than the average bear’s familiarity with the “magical” force of relaxed compassion.  If you did the homework I assigned in my last post, you practiced getting into this Love Zone (for example, by doing the aikido exercises) and then going into different public spaces while consciously holding your compassionate energy in a steady state.  If you haven’t tried this, do it sometime soon. 

Then, amp up the volume.

Once you can feel the Zone alone and in public places with fairly neutral energy, stay Zoned in while inviting situations that are more difficult and stressful.  Stay in the Zone while you rock your collicky baby, or a sit out a really bad traffic jam, or attend a gathering of people whose biases you loathe.  Think of the most unpleasant person you ever have to deal with, and actively seek to interact with this person, just to practice staying in the Zone no matter what.


An excellent practice is to stay in the Love Zone while watching a political TV pundit with whom you disagree: Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly if you’re a liberal, Keith Olberman or Jon Stewart if you’re conservative.  Remember, you don’t have to agree with these people—you don’t even have to like them.  Your only job is to stay in the Love Zone, by continuously connecting with images that bring you feelings of peace, joy, and affection.  Can you watch a pundit with your physical eyes and hear him bray with your physical ears while holding the energy of your first love, your adorable puppy, the joyful moment you managed to produce something halfway drinkable with the still you set up behind the barn? 

Oh yes, you can.

In fact, you must.

Hey, do you want to save the world, or what?


Step Three:  Use Your Spider-Senses to Assess the Energy of the Power Structure

For this next step, think of a situation in your actual life where you’re at the bottom of a power pyramid.  Maybe you feel you’re relatively powerless when dealing with your boss, your parents, the police.  Maybe you’re in an unbalanced relationship, financially dependent on a partner or mentor.  Whatever your particular circumstance may be, call it Situation X.

Now it’s time for something that you, as a Teammate, can do more capably than most people: use your psychic powers to analyze Situation X.  Yeah, I said psychic powers.  I’m tired of pretending these don’t exist, when not only personal experience but good science (read Dean Radin’s books for more details) shows that human consciousness can do things that are physically “impossible.” 

The most psychic Teammate I know is a nurse I’ll call Sonia, a woman of truly astonishing capabilities.  One day I asked her if she can teach other people to develop a “sixth sense” like hers.

“I don’t have teach them,” she said.  “Everyone can do it.  What’s unnatural is the way we learn not to use those abilities.  I call it ‘sandbagging.’  We choke off our access to ways of knowing we see as irrational.  But we sometimes take down the sandbags when we’re in frightening situations, because we instinctively know that we need all the information we can get.

“That’s why so many people on the Team had difficult childhoods,” she continued.  (Sonia knows all about the Team, I can assure you).  “In dangerous situations, life is training us to use all our intuition.  For example, growing up with alcoholic parents would make a child less likely to “sandbag” her intuition, because alcoholic behavior is so irrational that predicting it almost necessitates having psychic ability.  The same thing is true of violent, neglectful, sexually abusive, or just-plain-nuts parents—miserable environments make for intuitive children, who grow up into intuitive adults.  This isn’t the only way to be intuitive, but it’s the most common.”

So, as a Team member—by nature, nurture, or both—you probably have much better-than-average ability to take the “sandbags” off your intuitive ability.  Right now, turn your extra senses to Situation X.  “Feel” the system to see if there’s something spooky or creepy or icky about it.  Notice where you’re willing to trust the power structure, and where you know you’d be foolish to trust it.  Take off the sandbags by feeling what you feel and knowing what you know about Situation X.  Then, put Situation X into one of the following three categories:

  1. BASICALLY SANE POWER STRUCTURE:  Situation X, and its leaders aren’t perfect, but on the whole they’re just, fair, responsive, and well-intentioned.
  2. INNOCENTLY DYSFUNCTIONAL POWER STRUCTURE:  The people above me in the power structure of Situation X are innately well-intentioned, but they’re also quite unhealthy—there’s a lot of fear-based, dysfunctional behavior in the people and organization.
  3. TRULY CRAZY OR EVIL POWER STRUCTURE:  Situation X is dangerous and destructive.  The organization and its leaders embrace beliefs or behaviors that are immoral and corrupt.  No one at the top of the power structure has either the intention or the ability to change things for the better.

You’ll find that if you let go of your “sandbags,” you know—clearly and definitely—which category best describes your particular Situation X.  DO NOT RATIONALIZE, EXCUSE, OR EDIT YOUR INNATE KNOWLEDGE with thoughts like, “Well, if I can’t say something nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all,” or “I’m sure she’d be a happy, kind person if she didn’t have that third breast.”  Just know what you know and feel what you feel.  If you’re not being honest with yourself, you’ll feel uncomfortable, confused, and anxious.  When you’re totally truthful, you’ll feel the strangely relaxing “click” of the your own authenticity even when you’re acknowledging that a system you love is evil.

I’ll never forget the lady in one of my workshops who wasn’t sure she was in the right marriage.  She lived apart from her husband because she was nervous and unsettled in his presence.  When he’d visit her at her house she’d brace herself beforehand, then “detox” afterward.  She would actually go through each room of her home burning sweetgrass, a Native American practice called “smudging” that’s meant to cleanse an area of evil and negative energy. 

“I’m starting to think,” said this lovely woman, “that the marriage may not be right for me.”

Wow.  Ya think?

So get our of denial, take those sandbags off your intuition, evaluate System X frankly, and prepare to lead up.  You’ll need different strategies depending on whether System X is sane, dysfunctional, or evil.  I originally meant to describe all three in this blog post.  But I see that I’ve already written many many words, and your “leading up” instructions will require many many more, so I’m going to wrap this up.  Check the next post for directions on leading up in a sane system.


19 replies
  1. Gina
    Gina says:

    I’ve been reading the blog and feel so validated that I’m where I’m supposed to be… part of the team. I tried the aikido exercise and soon realized the power of the Love Zone. My husband read a quote and asked how do I turn my negative thoughts and energy to positive. I said like this, and we did the aikido exercise. Wow!

    I encouraged my son to use the Love Zone at school this morning when I dropped him off. It’s magic. Thanks Martha and Team

  2. Elena
    Elena says:

    This is excellent and it couldn’t have come at a better time–right before Christmas when we’ll truly get a bang for our buck practicing staying in the Love Zone during some of the dreadful, I mean joyous family gatherings we’ll be attending. If we can remain in the Zone at this time of the year, we’ll know we’ve nailed it … and then some!

    I anxiously await the next set of instructions.

    Stay Zoned and have a Cool Yule!

  3. hatt
    hatt says:

    I work with very ill and dying folks. I have practiced communicating love without saying a word by getting into the “zone” and letting it shine through my eyes. I have found that most individual respond very well to this type of communication. I have also tried to communicate kindness to people on the street by opening my heart and letting it reflect in my face. Thank you for your teaching I will expand my use of the zone. I think that some hesitant fear has delayed my attempt to use it with people I find unpleasant. But I will not let fear stop me.

  4. Molly @ Stratejoy
    Molly @ Stratejoy says:

    Relying on that “click” of authenticity serves us well if we’re willing to trust it! I finally started listening to mine, and as I return to my true path, the clicks have been singing me a song.

    @Elena- I too shall practice the Love Zone over the holidays. Stay strong sista!

    Leading up, here I come. Looking forward to the next post, Martha.



  5. Christy Cuellar-Wentz
    Christy Cuellar-Wentz says:

    It is so essential to include ourselves in the Love Zone in order to be empowered to lead from below (or anywhere for that matter). I’ve had a tendency to think that people “higher up” in a hierarchical system must somehow know more or be “better than” I am. I am realizing with greater consistency that I am able to be of service in the world up, down and sideways only when I honor my unique gifts. Amazingly, in accepting and valuing my own gifts, I am able to broaden my perspective in embracing and encouraging other people’s gifts as well.

    As Angeles Arrien once said, “We each have our own medicine” – translated – we each have our own way of being conduits for the Light in the world, all equally valid and useful in the right circumstances.

    Here’s to everyone on the Team recognizing the Light that shines forth from all of each of us as Solstice approaches!

    Peaceful Blessings,

  6. Alice Bachini-Smith
    Alice Bachini-Smith says:

    I used to mix up all three, these days it’s confusion between 2 and 3 that gets me. (Although, just knowing explicitly about them is bound to help, all that was sub-fully conscious). I now really love doing 1. but haven’t thought much about 2 and 3 yet, so am very excited indeed to hear about those.

    I think people mix them up in relationships, which cases a lot of trouble. Women especially need to be good at this in marriage. I don’t care what anyone says, if you’re home with kids, you’ve got less power even if it’s a shared decision & temporary situation. Being unrealistic about that just gets you in trouble. Also there are other kinds of power- extended family backup, assets etc.)

    What I love about leading up in basically sane power structure is seeing people get inspired and happy about their goodworks. What I find hardest about it is having enough self-belief to think you can and should be leading anyone else when (a) you tend to feel dumb a lot of the time and (b) frankly you act like it too. It seems easier to be humble and step aside, ideally making yourself as small as possible in some kind of darkened corner. At this point you are invisible, so everyone then steps all over you, which is a brilliant motivator for getting back up and reconsidering…!

    When I studied Judaism, my rabbi called this leadership the ability to be “elevated”. Apparently it’s especially relevant to the Jewish people. Something to do with being a “light unto the nations”. He was very keen on that. (I”m not Jewish, just studied it.)

    So, I still find it difficult as a culturally rational Westerner to separate the concept of leadership/ being “elevated” from “being a pompous ass”, even though it’s the only state with the possibility of being happy. One thing I’ve done lately is look at people’s emotional states (rather than just their appearance/ what they’re saying), and noticing a lot more tension, sadness, vulnerability, instead of pompous-ass-y”unenlightenedness”. Not surprising, because those feelings tend to go along with living in a portable grey cloud. But you know that stuff already, of course, so this seems like a good place to stop 🙂

  7. carol
    carol says:

    Someone finally said it about being psychic…. I have been working on the assumption that psychic is normal for a long time….. since childhood…. and realizing that some people are really buried , and other people are in pain from being psychic….
    I DONT believe that your friend knows everything about everyone here, tho, even tho that would be a truely good psychic…. I also dont think the psychics I’ve known do any more than connect to people , unauthorized, feed off them and their connections, and then use them…..
    No one has ever read me or my situation right…. however I did notice recently a resurragance of the same ole crap from someone out there, that doesnt benefit me or anyone…… maybe your ‘friend’….
    I also managed to encounter another truely evil empire….. and I just told them off, like I should have 50 years ago….
    I love this basic premise tho, and I would love to see people really living it, I have to go back to the drawing board …. because Im tired of being ‘burned’, w
    Next subject could be… How to undo spells and other crap bound to people and self… that would go a long way toward clearing up most of the messes here on earth….
    If you say Allison Dubois, I think I’ll puck…… That is a whole different story. Watch out.

  8. Sage
    Sage says:

    Wow! Now I know what I did right. Someone was tearing me up verbally and I started talking about something I loved, and something lit up all around me, and stayed like that. Very strange. Now I know what it was!

  9. Tracee Sioux
    Tracee Sioux says:

    Well, when you put it that way it’s actually a relief to realize it’s only #2 Innocently dysfunctional has to be better than #3 – right? What a relief. Reading the next ASAP to find out how to use my Love Zone to fix it right up or emotionally remove myself from dysfunction’s path or find the detour around it.

  10. Claire
    Claire says:


    Is it just me or has the blog actually not been feed since January?

    I’m so eager to hear about strategies to lead up!

    Has Martha maybe changed her virtual location? Do I have to go to another site?


  11. Rachel DuBois
    Rachel DuBois says:

    Unlike others perhaps, I've never been intuitive or considered it possible for me. I figured it was like being a mathematical genius — you're born with it or not. However, coming across "Your Sixth Sense: Unlocking the Power of Your Intuition" by Belleruth Naparstek at the library, I was impressed by how logical and helpful this book is in developing your psychic ability.

    Naparstek is a psychologist, very logically trained, who discovered as she sat with her clients she began to have sudden flashes of insight. She decided to research 40+ well-respected psychics and her book is the result of analyzing what techniques have worked best for these people as well as a lot of other research she did. The second half contains guided visualisations designed to produce the Love Zone, basically, as she says being in this state is the single most effective way she's found of gently awakening your psychic ability.

    So for anyone else out there who feels either they don't have it or would like to develop it, see if this book helps you.

  12. shannon
    shannon says:

    Martha – how does one lead up in Power Structures 2 & 3? I can’t find the blog posts, if they are there.

    Thank you!

  13. Heather
    Heather says:

    Clarity about my own leadership is what I have been asking for. Thank you so much for sending this today! Your writing affirms and muses and I look forward to reading more ; )

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