“We cannot, with integrity, deny our responsibility for stewardship of every part of the whole.”

Scott Peck


We Cannot Deny Our Part


My book, Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You! is about the eight principles you must follow to thrive in life and at work. Today, I’d like to share some of my final thoughts found on the last page:

“Conscious members of society now realize, If we keep doing what we’re doing in this world, we’ll continue to have what we have.” Given the current state of our human affairs and the condition of our fragile planet, this is concerning news. Operating with our current context of “kill or be killed – it’s a jungle out there,” we are doomed to extinction. To create different results, we must think and act differently. The time has come to fully utilize our God-given, inborn power of reason to elevate our thinking to a higher plane.

I ask you to carefully consider these questions:

If each of us embraced the eight principles (contained in my book) and committed ourselves to live and express the beliefs and behaviors of honesty, integrity, accountability, win/win, acceptance, commitment and agape love, would we have a different workplace? Would we operate differently within our families, neighborhoods and communities – and would that make a difference?

If we realized commerce and a commitment to conscious awareness aren’t mutually exclusive, would this affect our state, our country, our continent? If corporations, government leaders, and we, as individuals, took responsibility for our environmental footprint and the health and well-being of the community in which we live and work, is it possible we could have a different world?

Can we afford to sit back and shake our heads at the state of affairs around us when we are capable of making great change?

Reflect on those who didn’t. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa – just to name a few. Better yet, think about Rosa Parks who defied the rules of segregation and launched the civil rights movement in America. Consider Candy Lightner who founded MADD when her thirteen-year-old daughter was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Bring to mind the heroes of Flight 93 whose courageous sacrifice likely saved the lives of countless numbers of people.

Remember your favorite high school teacher or coach or someone in your personal past whom you admired and respected. World famous or not, they were all just people – like you and I. The reason they stand out, however, is because they played a bigger game than most. If you examine their lives carefully, you will see that their thoughts, actions, and deeds exemplified the eight principles.

If we are to truly survive as a species and thrive as a society, we must shift from a Survival of the Fittest context to one that supports Survival of the Wisest, because

 Only the Wise will Thrive

When published in 2007, Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You! placed #3 on the amazon.com Best Seller list (two places under Harry Potter). For 10 years straight, it never left the Work/Life Balance Best Seller list.

If you would like a copy, click here. If you would like an autographed copy, click here.



“Do you want it to work, or do you want to be right?”


POV: None of us own the truth, we tend to think our reality is THE reality, but if we really look at it, I don’t own the truth and your reality isn’t THE reality, you simply have your own perspective and I have mine. You have your reality and I have mine and neither is more real than the other. Instead of thinking in terms of being right or wrong about an opinion, idea, or point of view, may I suggest a new approach? Let’s think in terms of “workability”.

By “work” what I mean is:

 1) Does it produce the results you are looking for?

2) Does it generate the experience you are looking for?

When we come from a framework of thinking of “right” and “wrong”, we get positioned, take sides, get resistant and stubborn and the fight is on! Does this approach to discussing differences or even heated disagreements, work? Does it produce effective results? I think not. It creates stalemates, animosity and separation and the problem is not resolved. So rather than identify a person or an idea or a point of view as right or wrong, let’s ask, “How can we communicate in a way that will work?” “How do I need to think and operate differently so it works for both of us?”

If an attempt to do something doesn’t work, then it’s not considered a mistake or a failure. It doesn’t make the person “wrong”. They simply did something that didn’t work. There is no critical judgment about it, but rather, there is a practical judgment about it. That’s all.

It isn’t good, it isn’t bad, it simply needs to “work”. Most of us want a climate of creativity and cooperation whether it is in the workplace or at home, where people feel free to explore, express ideas, try new things and be heard without any concern for criticism. The only criteria we need to look for when entertaining an idea, a point of view or a suggestion is, “Will it work? Does it make for a better relationship, smoother functionality at work and produce the result we are looking for?”

If you are bothered about the way something is being done or if there is a problem with an individual or a performance or a communication, or if something is annoying you about a family member and you are feeling uncomfortable, unhappy frustrated, or angry – that would be considered as something that’s “unworkable”. It’s not right, not wrong, it simply “doesn’t work for me (for the company or for my relationships).” Let’s not slip into moral judgment because all that does is create resistance and defensiveness and besides, who are we to morally judge another anyway? All we want is workability.

This point of view can also be applied to one’s own behaviors. If I find myself feeling overwhelmed, out of sorts and maybe complaining a bit, I stop, look in the mirror and ask myself, “How’s this working for you, Martha?”

“It’s NOT WORKING for me!!” I say. I’m not getting the results I want, nor am I having the experience I am looking for. At that point, I need to stop my actions, reactions or inactions and ask myself, “What will work?”

I then need to make the appropriate changes. Nothing to be right about, to defend, hold on to, no agenda to prove, simply let go and do what works. That’s all.

To achieve this, we need to check our egos at the door. Self-righteous ego protective actions can throw a wrench into the best laid plans. Let’s rise above our egos and show the world how mature adults conduct themselves while achieving a goal, producing phenomenal success and communicating effectively. Let’s not sink into judgmental “right” and “wrong” thinking.

Let’s simply ask ourselves, “What will work?” And then go do it.

“The obstacle is the path”

Zen Koan

Many years ago in ancient times, there was a king who was afraid his kingdom was in decline because of the attitude of his people. He decided to test their resolve, so he had a giant boulder placed in the middle of the only road into the city. Then, hidden and perched on a high hill, he waited to see what would happen. First to come along were some of the King’s wealthiest merchants. Annoyed at the inconvenience this caused them, they simply walked around it and blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the boulder out of the way.

Next came a group of the King’s courtiers who saw the boulder was blocking their path so they readily gave up. Declaring there would be no work for them that day, they turned around and went home.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the giant stone off the road. He pushed and strained, but to no avail. Then he found a long wooden pole and placed it under the rock. Using leverage, he was able to move it slightly. He repeated this tedious process until the boulder was completely off the road, which made it possible for him and others to easily pass through. He was about to proceed down the previously blocked path when he noticed a leather pouch where the boulder once stood. Opening it, he discovered it contained many gold coins and a note which read, “This gold is for you as you are the only one who realized the obstacle is the path.”

As we travel down the path of life, we often encounter obstacles. When we do, we frequently get frustrated, annoyed, discouraged, upset with others, and sometimes, we even give up. All too often we wish our lives were easier and that our relationships were smoother. We dream of living without trouble or challenges. But that is not what happens when one fully participates in living life. There are troubles and tragedies, mistakes and misunderstandings, dilemmas and disappointments. How we deal with these obstacles is as much a part of life and living as anything else.

We tend to caste obstacles in a negative light and complain when they show up. Sometimes we pretend they aren’t there, but if we don’t deal with them, they will never disappear. As this Koan so wisely teaches us, the obstacle IS the path, just as much as the path is the path. They are one and the same. Whatever we encounter along life’s journey, be it something we perceive as positive or negative, it is what life is all about. Therefore, the path is whatever is in front of us . . . not good, not bad, not to be avoided or ignored.

The only reason we get upset when we are met with an obstacle is because the path is not looking the way we think it should. When in reality, the problem is not that the path is blocked, the problem is your desire to go down the path with no obstruction. As soon as we understand the obstacle isn’t something standing in our way, but is indeed the way itself, is the day we free ourselves of all our upsets.

You want to meet people, but your shyness is an obstacle. You can act like the King’s courtiers and give up and stay home, or you can learn how to deal with your shyness. Do a deep dive into it. Find out what you’re afraid of and work through that fear. Handle that obstacle and the path will be clear.

You are overwhelmed and stressed at work or at home. Like the wealthy merchants, you can complain and blame someone else – your boss for not understanding or your spouse for not helping (but the obstacle will remain in the middle of the path). Or, you can deal with what is interfering with your balance and identify the root of your stress and overwhelm. Maybe you have unrealistic expectations or take on too much or don’t say no when you should. Once you do the self-exploration and deal with the obstacle (weak, personal boundaries) the path will be clear.

Perhaps you and your spouse are having a communication breakdown. You can spend days in silence or fighting, arguing and blaming, or you can realize there’s an obstacle in the way of your path of happiness and look deeper into what is causing the communication problem. Maybe you aren’t listening well, or you’re not seeking to understand, or you’re trying to be right. Whatever it is, it is YOUR obstacle you need to identify and deal with. Doing so is as much a part of what it means to be in a relationship as is the walk in the sunset together.

What is your obstacle? What/who makes you angry or sad? What fear tends to stop you from having what you want? What upsets you, makes you feel weak? When are you frustrated or jealous? You can deal with all these obstacles when you become like the peasant who found a way to deal with the obstacle in his path. Don’t go around it, or run from it. Go into it, work with it…explore it. Identify what is at the source of it. Be creative and find ways to manage it. Then take steps to move it out of the way. Doing so IS your journey. Identifying and removing the obstacle is as much a part of your journey as is the path itself.

Evolve or Remain

By Creig Crippen
You are being presented with a choice: evolve or remain.
If you choose to remain unchanged, you will be presented with the same challenges, the same routine, the same storms and the same situations until you learn from them … until you love yourself enough to say, “No more”… until you choose change.
If you choose to evolve, you will connect with the strength within you, you will explore what lies outside the comfort zone,  you will awaken to love, you will become, you will be.   You have everything you need.
Choose to evolve.
Choose love.
(Read this carefully and slowly several times until you hear the deep message that is there for you.)
Thank you to Jess Maria for sharing this powerful quote.
Jess is a graduate of the Self Mastery courses: Basic, Advanced and Source Point Leadership.
If you haven’t yet attended our extraordinary transformational program, SIGN UP NOW to receive the support and guidance to evolve your own life in the most extraordinary ways. Call Martha at 707-433-2282 for more details.

WoW: Shared Wisdom


from “Autobiography in Five Chapters”
by Portia Nelson

Chapter One

I walk down the street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place, but it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. l see  it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my responsibility. I get out immediately.

Chapter Four

I walk down the same street. There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around  it.

Chapter Five

I walk down another street.

WoW: Love


Love takes time. It needs a history of giving and receiving, laughing and crying. Love never promises instant gratification, only ultimate fulfillment. Love means believing in someone, in something. It supposes a willingness to struggle, to work, to suffer and to rejoice.

Satisfaction and ultimate fulfillment are by-products of dedicated love. They belong only to those who can reach beyond themselves; to whom giving is more important than receiving. Love is doing everything you can to help others build whatever dreams they have. Love involves much careful and active listening. It is doing whatever needs to be done, and saving whatever will promote the others’ happiness, security and well-being.

Sometimes love hurts. Love is on a constant journey to what others need. It must be attentive, caring, and open – both to what others say and to what others cannot say. Love says “no” with empathy and great compassion. Love is firm, but when needed, it must be tender.

When others have tried and failed, love is the hand in yours in your moments of discouragement and disappointment. Love is reliable. Love is a choice and commitment to others’ true and lasting happiness. It is dedicated to growth and fulfillment. Love is not selfish. Love sometimes fails for lack of wisdom or abundance of weakness, but it forgives, knowing the intentions are good. Love does not attach conditions. Genuine love is always a free gift.

Love realizes and accepts there will be disagreements and disturbing emotions. There may be times when miles lay between, but love is a commitment. It believes and endures all things. Love encourages freedom of self. Love shares positive and negative reactions to warm and cold feelings. Love, intimate love, will never reject others. It is the first to encourage and the last to condemn.

Love is a commitment to growth, happiness, and fulfillment of one another.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

Lao Tzu


The following excerpt was written by Tejal Patel


 “If you struggle with mastering patience, acceptance or any lesson, look to nature as your teacher. Ask how do the stars do it? How does the ocean do it? How do the birds do it?” Therein, you will find an illustration and answer of how you should handle your issue.


Embrace the moment you see a beautiful cloud formation, take in the magnitude of colors during a sunset, soak up the autumn foliage, watch flocks of birds migrating or look deeply into the eyes of your pet. Begin to ponder the lessons available to you and become aware of the multitude of messages you have been missing from your silent teachers. As you begin to become present with nature, these are but a few of the humbling lessons and answers you will discover by tuning into nature’s brilliance.


26 Powerful Lessons to Learn from Nature


1. Trees
As seasons change, we are guided to learn acceptance and non-resistance. A green leaf doesn’t resist turning red when autumn approaches. Trees don’t resist leaves falling when winter arrives. They stand deeply rooted in the ground, with their vulnerability out in the open and branches spread wide, surrendering to the Universe. Do what you will with me, I trust it is for my highest good. A tree bends with the wind. So too must we not fight, but bend with the storms in our own lives.


2. Ocean
The vast ocean can’t exist without each particle of water. Each human being plays its part in humanity. We are all one small part of the greater whole.


3. Birds
Birds soaring through the sky represents the limitless freedom and potential available to us if we release our fears. Taking off to fly for the first time can be scary and bring about feelings of fear. Without taking the risk of the first flight, we won’t find the internal freedom we desire. We must dare to take our feet off the ground, spread our wings and soar.


4. Pets
Pets teach us more about love than any person or thing. We understand the true nature of unconditional love without expectations. The true nature of forgiveness is forgetting and letting go of grudges. We learn uninhibited, unreserved affection by giving our full attention. Understanding love is a feeling and doesn’t require words. Love is felt in the heart by making eye connection, being in someone’s presence and through physical touch.


5. Ants and Bees
The community of bees and ants all participate together to benefit all those in their community. We each have our own calling that is best performed by us. Each part is necessary for a functioning family, community, nation and world. Embrace your special responsibility, share it proudly with the world, and always do your best.


6. Bamboo and the Maple Tree
Who said the bamboo is more beautiful than the maple tree and the maple tree is more valuable than the bamboo because it gives out maple syrup? Does the bamboo feel jealous of the maple tree because it is bigger and its leaves change color? The idea of trees comparing themselves to others is ridiculous as should humans comparing themselves to one another. We must compare our growth to who we were yesterday not to the growth of another. Everyone is incomparably unique.


7. Flocks of Birds
I’ve never seen two birds run into each other when they are flying in a flock. Why is that if they never talk to each other? True communication doesn’t always need words. Body language, sensing others` energy and tone can say much more than the actual words we speak. At all times we are communicating through our thoughts and the energy we dispel. Be mindful of your thoughts as the energy behind them affect others and the world.


8. Night Sky
Darkness is necessary to appreciate the light. We need to experience the opposite of what we want so we can appreciate and experience the thing we desire.


9. Sky
No matter what storms are passing, know it is always transient because beyond the clouds, the sky is always blue and the sun is always shining.


10. Rain
Water is required to cleanse negativity in the world and allow a space of clarity. It is through showering and soaking in a tub, that we clear our bodies from the stagnant, negative energy of yesterday and replenish our positive energy. Shower with the intent of cleansing your body, spirit and mind.


11. Clouds
The sky is the backdrop of our mind. The clouds with different formations, speeds and heights represent the frequency, types and speed of our thoughts. As clouds, our thoughts and moods too shall pass. Glide through your thoughts like birds glides through clouds. Don’t resist the clouds, fly through them.


12. Stars
Stars bring beauty and light in the darkness. Instead of succumbing to the darkness of the world, be one of the radiant stars that shines their bright inner light. As we inspire others to be stars, we can light up the night sky with our intentional beams of star light.


13. Wind
Not all things that exist can be seen or heard. Some things need to be felt. Don’t be limited to your 5 senses. Use your intuition and develop the practice of believing in the things you feel.


14. Sunrise and Sunset
The breathtaking colors of a sunrise and sunset show us that colors vibrate energy and have the power to elicit certain emotions and feelings. Be mindful about the colors you surround yourself with.


15. Animals
Zebras do not look at tigers and wish they could hunt like tigers. Accept yourself as you are, know your weaknesses and strengths and embrace your unique beauty and gifts.
16. Preys
Animals who are prey don’t over analyze and plan in advance the ways they are going to outsmart a predator in the future. When the threat approaches their fight or flight kicks in, when the threat is gone, they go back to grazing without a thought in mind about the predator. Don’t dwell in a space of fear of the future and regret of the past when the threat doesn’t exist. That’s the breeding ground of stress, anxiety and regret.


17. Gardens
Have faith in tomorrow. We plant seeds of hope today, nourish them with love and attention with the faith that our labor will result in fruits in the future. We can’t impatiently force a garden to grow on our terms. A seed will sprout into a plant when the time is right. A fruit will fall from the tree when it is ripe and ready. They grow not because they are forced to, but because they let go and allow divine energy and timing to run its course. Be persistent, patient and have trust in divine timing.


18. Natural Disasters
Our earth absorbs the negative energy humans expel as do our bodies. There are times when the earth and our bodies need to re-calibrate and dispel the negative energy we absorbed. Mental breakdowns and hitting rock bottom will bring chaos, change and discomfort, but it can be the most positive, life-changing event. Sometimes, we need to be brought to our knees to remember what we are grateful for and start on a new life path.


19. Mountains
Stand firm, poised and majestic like a mountain. Regardless of the external situations life will bring you, remain strong like the mountains do when faced with avalanches, rain storms, and water erosion. Your emotional guidance system should be tough like a rooted mountain, immune to the actions and reactions of others.


20. Flowers
We all carry a different fragrance, color and beauty for the world to enjoy. Flowers don’t discriminate who they share their beauty and fragrance with. They share with all friends, strangers and enemies. True compassion and love comes from sharing your beauty with all you meet.


21. Snakes
It’s necessary to shed your own skin and personality to allow an improved and better version of ourselves to emerge


22. Gravity
The Universe has its own sets of laws that are not man-made and they trump any rule, law or limiting belief set by man. Figure out the Universal laws and make sure you are working with them and not against them.


23. Flow of Water
As we set sail in our life, we take sail through a calm stream. As our dreams get bigger, we are guided to a river with faster currents and more opportunities. Eventually, for our dreams to be realized, we must end up in the vast ocean. We won’t always have the protection of the river banks as our safety net. To achieve our dreams, we have to lose sight of the land and sail into open waters, where there are unlimited possibilities for our dreams to manifest. Anything and everything is possible.


24. Butterflies
Butterflies symbolize our entire life cycle metamorphosis. Life is short and from the moment of birth we are constantly changing our form, inside and out. Don’t resist change. Some of the most beautiful wisdom and changes occur as you grow older and transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Appreciate each phase of your life before you transform to a new cycle.


25. Rivers
There is always a natural undercurrent to water. We have the choice to either flow with the current of life or paddle against the stream. We dispel our energy, creativity and time working against the flow of the Universe. Throw your paddles in the water and let your boat take course in the natural direction of the current. You are being guided to go in the direction you are meant to go.


26. Weather
Just like weather forecasts, nothing is certain in life. We can’t control and prepare for everything. On days when there is supposed to be sunshine, the rain may unexpectedly fall. Don’t let your mood be affected by the weather. Looking to nature and animals, we see beauty and wisdom in the simple and ordinary. We easily take this beautiful world and its many messages and lessons for granted. Don’t wait for extraordinary moments to take your breath away, look to nature and bring that beauty into all that you do and every moment of your life. Tending a garden, folding laundry, driving to work, attending a meeting, paying bills, confronting an upset client, consoling your child having a tantrum or cleaning up after a meal – all regular tasks – take on an elevated quality when we perform them with total involvement, acceptance and love. Instead of feeling like you “have to” do them, they become things you “get” to do.


Thank you to Tejal Patel for writing this and to Luminita for publishing it.