Archive for August, 2020

Sonoma County, California


“The clouds bellied out in the sultry heat, the sky cracked open with a crimson gash, spewed flame-and the ancient forest began to smoke.”

Yevgeny Zamyatin




WE ARE HOME safe and sound!!! The fire came very close, but everything is exactly as we left it 12 days ago when our lives were so quickly interrupted and time seemed to have stopped mid-sentence… a few dishes in the sink, two half empty wine glasses on the counter… unopened mail on my desk.


Jason Boaz is the kind of man who makes you feel safe just being around him. He’s our Healdsburg Fire Chief and a friend, and although our road is closed to traffic, he personally escorted us home. How can we ever thank him and all the firefighters? How can we ever thank someone for saving a precious part of our lives? How can we ever show the deep appreciation we feel for those who rush towards the danger to protect those of us who flee? Heroes, every one of them.


I also thank ALL of you who called, wrote me emails, texts and words of encouragement. I was pretty occupied and didn’t get to answer you, but please know each and every kind, beautiful message, whether short or long, warmed my heart and lifted my spirit. Your words really made a difference.


Now for those of you who truly appreciate drama, I will summarize our time away… The Universe has been having all kinds of fun throwing us test after test, after test…


As some of you already know, 12 days ago, my daughter Gabi, her boyfriend Jason and I evacuated quickly with our combined 5 cats, 3 dogs and several bottles of wine. We packed, unpacked and caravanned all of our animals and stuff in our 3 cars for a total of 5 times in 4 different places…Oakland, Los Altos, Discovery Bay, Santa Rosa and finally, home.


A few days in, I received a call telling me my dear Bernese Mtn. Dog Gina had melanoma and shortly thereafter, her legs gave out so she had to be carried up/down steps. Max, my male Berner, stopped eating completely for 5 days. They both got all kinds of tests. My sweet Gina girl is not doing well and may not be with us much longer, but being the trooper she is, she made it home and now I wait for her to tell me when it is time. We still don’t know what is wrong with Max. An appetizer enhancer has him eating a little…


I stayed inside at each Airbnb (remember the pandemic?) and while Gabi and Jason were off driving all over the countryside taking the dogs to the vets, a huge palm tree crashed down on the roof where we were staying and came through the ceiling! (You just can’t make this stuff up.) If you’ve never been in a house when a tree falls on it, believe me when I say, it is impressive! I am still shaking!! (We packed up all our stuff again) and miraculously, found another place.


Gabi and Jason drove a total of 18 hrs. to and from homes and veterinary clinics, never mind the number of trips they took to get food and more wine. They did all the organizing, packing, unpacking, cooking and cleaning, and never complained once. They have both been my Guardian Angels and I could never even tell you how wonderful they have been. I couldn’t have done this without them.


Now we are in our own home again and grateful to see everything is still here. The House Blessings within its walls, and your loving energy surely helped protect it from harm. The air is smoky and there’s some ash, but we came through it unscathed and are truly blessed. The simple treasures we took with us, we will return to their rightful places and life will go on for us. But not all are so fortunate.


Tonight, when we safely return to the security of our own beds, others of you will be tossing and turning in some strange place, with hearts filled with sadness, anxiety and fear of the unknown future. My love goes out to those of you who lost your homes, your cars, your beloved pets—your everything. It is a true tragedy for which there are no words. And I am so, so very sorry…


If there is anything I can do to support you, please just let me know… there’s a whole community of Self-Mastery grads who I know, along with myself, will generously offer you help.


Now is the time to remember…


“Just as fire destroys, it also creates. As a symbol of change and renewal, it removes the old and makes way for new beginnings…”


The year 2020 is a time of upheaval. Tremendous change is occurring. A birth of something new is pending and like all births, it’s messy, it’s hard, painful and always a struggle.


But we will get through all this… we will all love and laugh again and when we turn that corner, we will find ourselves on a higher plain than ever before. We must not despair. As individuals, a community, a country and a world, we have challenging work ahead of us, but never forget…


“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”


Love, Martha

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“You’re doing better than you think you are. Be proud of yourself. I’m proud of you; keep going. You’ve got this. I have faith in you.”

The following was written by John Pavlovitz. He expresses my thoughts far better than I, so I pass this on to you with my love, caring, and understanding. We are all going through some very, very difficult times, and….

“I don’t know whether anyone’s told you lately or not, but you’re doing a great job.


You probably don’t feel that way, but under the conditions that’s understandable. You’ve been busy.
You’ve had your hands full.

Friend, take a second and think about what you’ve been through in the short span of the Spring:

  • You’ve dealt with an unprecedented health crisis that has paralyzed the planet.
  • With almost no warning, you’ve had to alter the way you do just about everything.
  • You’ve lost the ability to travel.
  • You’ve lost a good deal of income.
  • You may have even lost your job.
  • You’ve had to become a homeschool teacher.
  • You’ve had to become a primary caregiver.
  • You’ve had to become your own marriage counselor.
  • You’ve had to learn how to fix the dishwasher.
  • You’ve had to learn to cut your own hair.
  • You’ve had to search the dark web for toilet paper and then ration it like it was spun gold.
  • You’ve had to digest a relentless, ever-shifting barrage of news stories and expert recommendations and changing timelines and behavior restrictions.
  • You’ve had to experience birthdays and graduations and milestone moments you’d have never missed, through a jittery Zoom connection or a scratched phone screen.
  • You haven’t been able to hold your grandchildren or kiss them on the forehead.
  • You’ve had to grieve people you love dearly, from a distance and alone in a private funeral at your kitchen table.
  • You’ve been terribly lonely or you haven’t had a moment alone.
  • You’ve had to try and help your kids understand why they can’t go play with their friends, knowing it will still feel like a punishment to them.
  • You’ve sat with your sobbing teenager as the first breakup came at the absolute worst time.
  • You’ve had your faith shaken to its bedrock or may have lost your religion altogether.
  • You’ve watched your mental health deteriorate, as reality has become the nightmare you always imagined it was.
  • You’ve seen the death toll rise well beyond the worst of your fears when all this began.
  • You witnessed the absolute worst of humanity: hoarding pasta, berating grocery store clerks, protesting with weapons at capitol buildings, burning masks, calling 911 on people for simply existing.
  • You’ve watched more than one black man be murdered in the street.
  • You learned the levels of racism afflicting your family and your friendships and our leadership.
  • You’ve been reminded of how fractured this nation is.
  • You’ve had to do all of it without a single hug. The level of difficulty of your current life is a few steps above Batman.

So yeah, you’ve gained a few pounds or you’ve slacked on the meal planning, or you’ve let some stuff slide around the house, or you’ve ignored the shrubs, or you’ve missed sending that birthday card, or you’ve binge-watched a few dozen shows, or you’ve served cereal for dinner and called it “Breakfast Night”—give yourself a damn break.

No, you’re not equipped for this and yes, you’re overmatched and overwhelmed—because this is a special kind of creative and historic hell no one could have prepared for and no one is thriving through.

No one.

Everyone you live with or love or see from a distance or marvel at on social media is pressed so far past their limits, they are often near tears. Everyone is so beaten down by all the unknowns, their minds are exhausted from a million swirling contingencies and scenarios and possibilities. Everyone is working with Plan B (or Plan Q) at this point, and we’re all feeling like we’re floundering and failing.

It is enough right now to survive and to accept that as a victory.

You’re here and you’re somehow making the unworkable work: with the sub-par dinners and the less-than-stellar haircut and the occasional tantrums from your child or your lover or yourself.

You’re MacGyver—ing a makeshift life from the odd assortment of stuff you can cobble together around you, and honestly, it’s a thing of beauty to behold.

So have a good cry or a piece of cake, go scream into your pillow or run around the block, toss up a prayer or drop an f-bomb—and then take a look around and survey your handiwork: the stuff you’ve made or the things you’ve fixed or the people you’ve cared for or the work you’ve done, and appreciate the duress under which you’ve managed it all.

One day you’re going to look back on these days and realize you weren’t a failure or a fraud or a lousy parent or a crappy partner. You’re going to see you were a frickin’ superhero doing world-saving work in Kryptonite circumstances that should have leveled you but didn’t. You’re going to see it was your finest hour.

And because you likely can’t see that right now, I wanted you to know I see it in you.

So, yeah, you’ve got a lot on your plate, but you’re making it work.

Life is not what you planned, but it’s yours.

Keep going.

You’re doing great.”



 Self Mastery Grads – Let’s Support Each Other

I will soon be contacting all Self Mastery grads with times for us to get together for some complimentary coaching check-in Zoom calls with each other. I’ll keep the groups small so everyone will have a chance to share, get coaching support and we’ll continue to learn together. Everyone is climbing their own mountain. Let’s do it together. I look forward to reconnecting with all of you. It’s been way too long… I miss you guys… You’re the best… and…

I love you,




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Steven Colbert Interviews Jon Stewart

Part 1

August 4, 2020


Let’s talk about the incredible civil rights demonstrations that have been going on in the wake of George Floyd’s death and Bronwyn Taylor’s death and Ahmaud Arbery… why do you think right now there has been such a powerful movement in the street that has been so broad…like 2,000 different towns and cities…people of all walks of life, all taking to the streets demanding change. What do you think is different now?


Such a great question. You know, I was thinking back when this happened to when I was still doing the show and the terrible tragedy in Charleston, Ferguson, Eric Garner, and I don’t know, because I remember those moments being so chilling and feeling like such a wake-up call, but also feeling hopeless – that we continue to stare at this sort of abyss of a gaping racial wound, but we never seem to do anything about. And so, in this moment, I don’t know … I think it was Will Smith who said, “It’s not that racism is worse, it’s being filmed.” But the others were on camera as well.


In some respects, I wonder if the pandemic, because we all went into a kind of stasis, and so much of the distractions of your daily life were removed, it allowed the country a moment of clarity. Because so much of the noise had ended – it’s almost like, in this moment of more quiet reflection, America stopped and smelled the racism.
You know what I mean?


There was that feeling we were in a moment’s pause, and in that one breath, maybe it suddenly became clearer…because look…the biggest obstacle to change has always been our inability to understand. It’s not just about ending segregation, it’s about dismantling the barriers….look…Black people have been working so hard for equality for so long, and the exhaustion of that, just the despair of that, and the anguish of that…that while they were fighting for equality, white people were building equity and the disparity then between the lack of equality and the rise in equity, just exacerbates…and they are always negotiating from this subservient position what should not be a negotiation.


They had to, from the get-go, ask for human hood, ask for those things that in our Declaration of Independence very clearly say are your inalienable rights from your Creator. They’re not…you know…if God creates us all equal, the American government somehow got to be the bouncer of that creed… and you had to ask and beg and plead and fight and take to the streets to gain equality. But while that was going on there, we still had legal boundaries to keep them from gaining equity and I think equality will only come once the Black community can gain the equity that was taken from them…F***…from the beginning.


I mean, you’re talking about the Homestead Act. Once all the slaves were freed, they didn’t have their own land, they didn’t get the 40 acres and a mule that was promised to them, Andrew Johnson made sure of that. So we had the Homestead Act and homesteaders were given millions of acres of land, which was the equity… Somebody was telling me – I think what they said was that 20% of the wealth in that era can actually be traced to the Homestead Act, which explicitly did not include Black people.


The Federal Housing Administration in the New Deal, explicitly said that you cannot loan these low-cost loans that were intended for White people to gain equity, you cannot give them to Black people. The most progressive piece of legislation that may have ever happened on the soil of America explicitly excluded Black people. The GI Bill in Long Island, when everybody was buying into Levittown, explicitly excluded Black people. Until and when we address that…equality will come. That to me feels like the root.


I think that is the root and I would only add to that, is that one of the reasons I think this is a catalytic moment is because of all the work done by Black organizers over the last five to six years… specifically, Black Lives Matter, who four years ago at the election, it was “Who is this radical organization?” and now it’s generally accepted to have a proper goal and people understand what Black Lives Matter really means. It is more broadly accepted. The second thing would be… (Jon interrupts) …Go ahead…


I was just going to say… but it’s still going to be the “but” people. So the things working against it are the “but” people… and by the way, as ridiculous as it is for two old white dudes to be sitting around saying, “The problem with racism in this country is…” (they both mimic pondering and laugh)


I think it’s valid to talk about why it’s widely accepted because I’m talking about why it’s not just the Black community that believes this has to happen now…


Right! And here’s why I think this is important, I think White people can function as avatars and for some reason…we used to do this on the show. We did a bit on it. I think it was myself, Jordan Klepper and Jessica Williams, and we were talking about one of those things at Ferguson and she was making a great point about systemic racism and Jordan Klepper would say, ”I don’t know, that just doesn’t sound like it’s real.”


And then I would say the same thing that she said, just slightly reformatted and he would say, “That is so deep and profound! You are such a thought leader on race. I really respect you for that.” And she’d go, “I just said that” and he’d go, “I don’t think you did.”


Because I think the problem has always been… maybe two-fold… one is the “but” people… they’ll come out and say, “Y’know, what happened to George Floyd was awful, we watched it, and no one condones that… BUT…” As soon as you hear “but” you know they’re about to negate the reality of the situation. “Ya but— he wasn’t an angel” or “what about the criminality?”


One of the biggest problems… I think the problem is twofold. One, I think there’s a wide swath of the White population, and you know this as well as I do, that believes that somehow the inequality in the Black community is on them.


Right! They’re not working hard enough.


Correct. That there is a problem of virtue and culture.
“Pull your pants up!”
“If you just…”
“My grandfather had to work”
– But when your grandfather came home from World War II, he got a low-cost loan to buy a house. When a Black GI came home from World War II, they weren’t allowed to and they were never allowed to build that equity.


So the first thing is to try and have the conversation because we don’t talk about White entrenched poverty in the same way. Look at how they talk about poverty in the inner city… somehow it’s the fault of the Denizens there. But White poverty is a tragedy of circumstance – it’s globalism, it’s jobs that go overseas. Their problems are debts of despair. Opioids are treated differently than crack. Crack is criminalized and people are put away. Opioids, they’re just sad because the jobs are gone.


Well, how would you handle what has been systemically been done to the Blacks? … And [they say] to the Black community, “Hey man, c’mon, we’re not slave owners. Why can’t you get over it?” Meanwhile, look what happened to White people. Six weeks of quarantine and they’re like… (Jon puts his hands to his head with a look of exasperation) “I’m going to storm the government with my AK-47…”


To see this interview, please visit:











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