Musings....

I'd love to hear your thoughts and reflections on any of these posts.

Power Animals and You

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Tremendous change is afoot on many levels these days. Changes that impact us in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. Old ways of doing things don’t really work any more and centuries-old structures are breaking down. This makes it hard to “be”. Be at peace. Be in the moment. Be with challenging emotions so that they don’t get pushed down and cause emotional and physical havoc. The good news is that we have an abundance of resources to help us through these unusual times. Social gatherings are becoming safer and are a beautiful balm to the soul. Time in nature: another beautiful balm. I need regular doses of all of the above plus yoga, meditation, massages, energy medicine, and acupuncture if I have any hope of staying sane and in balance. Oh, and laughter! Put on any episode of America’s Funniest Videos and I dare you not to laugh at the funny animals...
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Drumming for the Health of It!

IMG_0875 My well-used drum...
Have you ever gathered in a group and jammed to music or drummed together? When everyone syncs up and gets into a rhythm, so to speak, it’s as if the group and music takes on a life of its own. No structure or sheet music is followed and yet everyone seems to know where to go next with the music and rhythm-making.  I remember sitting in The Barn in Topsham for a Soul Retrieval training with Dory Cote with other shamanic practitioners. The structure is gorgeous — post and beam construction, high ceilings and elegant blonde wood. Twenty or so open-hearted healers gathered to deepen into the work of retrieving part of the soul that had become inaccessible due to trauma or any number of life's difficulties. Dory called the group to order and we started drumming together to raise our vibration and honor the opening of the work we were...
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Maine's Mystics....


Moosehead Lake
Monhegan coastline
cropped shamans in peru
With my dad born and raised in Southern Maine we visited Vacationland at least once a year when I was young to see family and explore. He taught summer school, so our trip always happened the last week of June between the end of the school year and start of the summer session. My memories of visiting Maine, aside from loving the rides and games in Old Orchard Beach, was lots and lots of rain. Can you imagine? Two adults, four children and sometimes a dog, crammed into a cabin or house, climbing the walls. It’s amazing we ever returned. But we did return, year after year, and often ventured out to the lakes and up the coast  to Boothbay Harbor, Rockland, Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor.   Such spectacular beauty. I’ve always loved the beach and was thrilled to move here 12 years ago. The ocean and coast were more...
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Guest — Mary Katherine Spain
A very wise person told me long ago that those who come here to Maine, come to heal. Those who stay become healers. Makes sense to... Read More
Sunday, 21 February 2021 16:05
Martha Williams
Love that. Wise words, indeed, my friend.
Sunday, 21 February 2021 17:30
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Farewell 2020: Honoring the Gifts and Lessons

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Dear Year of 2020, You’ve gotten a bad rap. People are posting cheeky comics about you...                                        OK...that was me. I posted both on Facebook.   I mean, sure, it was a rough year with moments of intense stress, anxiety and fear.  People have suffered immeasurable loss and uncertainty. But I don’t think I ever wished you were “over.” I remember many moments of laughter. I remember the comfort I felt in having my parents safe and close-by for the first 3 months of the pandemic...and spaciousness. My soul leaps for joy at just the idea of spaciousness and you have offered plenty of the actual thing. I'm very grateful for that.  In fact, I look back on the year with deep gratitude for the “little” things which really aren’t so little.  Gratitude...
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Guest — Jody Breton
Such a beautiful reflection Martha. Each an invitation for us all to consider for ourselves. I, personally resonate with your thou... Read More
Tuesday, 29 December 2020 08:41
Guest — Martha Williams
Thank you, Jody. Blessings to you and yours. xoxo
Tuesday, 29 December 2020 09:20
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Inspiration...now more than ever

MexSunflower_Up-Close The resplendent Mexican Sunflower
MexSunflowerCropped w Green copy
White Cosmos
We need inspiration these days. Now, more than ever. It's so easy to feel discouraged, anxious, frustrated, and angry and become immobilized, even before Covid hit and the election season ramped up. It's a sign of the times, and a sign of the choices before us. Inspiration can help us find our way.  I sometimes forget that inspiration can be found all around us. How about you? Sometimes I find inspiration in the gorgeous hue of the Mexican Sunflower. Other times it's the magnificent white pine outside my window that has one enormous trunk that has split off into multiple other trunks. One of those magical trunks gracefully curves out, a length of it parallel to the ground, and then reaches straight up to an opening between other trees to the sun. Nature gets creative when it seeks out the sun that nourishes it. That inspires and excites me, and makes...
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Guest — Margaret
Took 8 breaths. I am too impatient to wait to read what came next. All was a blessing, most of all that incredible flower.... Read More
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 10:19
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Highly Sensitive: Maybe that's you?

IMG_3267 Highly sensitive people are like orchids...we have finely tuned nervous systems and are extremely sensitive to our environment. We flourish when cared for and appreciated for our unique beauty.
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Picture this: Old Orchard Beach, Maine at the height of summer. Bright, warm sunshine. Happy visitors, families enjoying the arcade and the amusement rides. The fried dough.              Crowded sidewalks and streets, boisterous voices and laughter, flashing lights, music booming from the Himalaya ride.  My idea of a nightmare. Just the thought of it makes my head hurt and a shudder runs through my body.  Am I anti-social? Fun-time hater? Absolutely not.  Am I a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?  Most definitely.  What is this high sensitivity? you may ask. It is an innate temperament trait identified by Dr. Elaine Aron. She noticed similarities in stories from her clients when working as a psychotherapist; stories of overwhelm, overstimulation and feeling misunderstood as being “TOO” sensitive as a child.  An HSP herself, she paid attention to these stories and, a researcher at heart, started collecting data. She’s written books,...
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Mindfulness...in the shower. It could happen!

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 Have you ever found yourself in the shower, uncertain if you’ve washed your hair or not? That’s a good example of not being mindful: engaging in a familiar routine but checked-out and thinking about whether or not you’ll take the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland or avoid the bridge and cut through South Portland instead. Alternatively, can you recall moments of locking into the sounds and sights of our beautiful beaches? The graceful, synchronized dance of the Plovers on Crescent Beach. Witnessing the stormy, raging waves crashing on the rocks at Fort Williams and the resulting sea spray. Now we’re talking mindful moments: those times when our senses are pleasantly alert and we notice. We notice sights, sounds, and sensations without jumping ahead wondering “what’s next” or reflect on a past happening. With multiple sources of distraction and demands for our attention, mindfulness is a practice, that can offer an alternative...
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What if Creativity is Our True Nature?

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“Why indeed must ‘god’ be a noun?  Why not a verb…the most active and dynamic of all?” ~Mary Daly, theologian How do we do the most with what we have in this life, creating a life of meaning, joy, and connection?  As part of my work and one of my passions, I collect information about teachers who explore this question. It's amazing how many different answers and ideas are out there --   There are a number of fresh, new voices on the personal growth/optimal living scene and then there are senior teachers:  Martha Beck, Caroline Myss, Krishna Das, Thomas Moore, Sandra Ingerman, Dr. Joe Dispenza and others. Because of the research I do on these teachers and my work with retreat centers around the country, I know about a lot of different topics and perspectives on personal transformation, though I don’t always dive deeply into the work.  Recently, I cracked open Julia...
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Guest — Jody Breton
Beautifully crafted musing on Julia Cameron’s teachings Martha. I was introduced to Julia’s work when I was enrolled in the Chapla... Read More
Monday, 28 January 2019 07:17
Guest — Martha Williams
Thank you, Jody. Great examples of when we can open ourselves up to divine spirit in all kinds of creative ways. Enjoy your ex... Read More
Monday, 28 January 2019 11:42
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Are you Soul-Tender? Are You A Soul-Tender?

Spurwink_Sunrise2018
Some things are meant to be a mystery or part-mystery. That’s why I’m ok with not having a clear definition and understanding of the soul. It’s more of an ever-evolving wondering and exploration. What’s more important for me is cultivating a connection to my soul-essence… that part of me kissed by the Divine and also very much “me.” My own personal imprint that I’m living with, working with, tending to and evolving, part of something greater than all of us. I recently thought about how often I see the phrase “self-care” on Facebook, magazine covers, books, emails and how easy it is to gloss over a phrase that I see so often. Then the phrase “soul-tender” popped into my consciousness and I felt a pleasant little “Hmmm…yesssss” inside. Soul-Tender. Both a noun and a verb. A person who tends their soul and is tender towards their soul. A way of being...
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Guest — Sooze
Just Wow my Sweet...love this and need to print it out for my Balance book...Namaste
Sunday, 25 November 2018 12:04
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When We Have Space, We Thrive

Tree.at.Fort.Williams My tree friend at Fort Williams Park
A few weeks ago, on my morning walk, I noticed a tree I've passed hundreds of times without really pausing to take a closer look.  This time I was struck by its beautiful, natural shape. It truly got my attention and I had a sense that there was a message being offered.  The tree is naturally round and glorious in a way that says to me “This is what I’m meant to be. This is my true form and essence.” What I also noticed: no other trees were nearby, encroaching on this tree’s ability to be in its truest, most natural form. I doubt this tree was trimmed and manicured. This is the real deal. It was thriving.  It got me thinking about space, and how when we have space around us we can be what we’re meant to be…our truest essence, our purest form. We thrive.  I’m talking “space” in...
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Guest — Mary O Maverick
Spot on! It is exactly what I need to create more space in my life.
Sunday, 28 October 2018 10:39
Martha Williams
Yay, Mary!!
Sunday, 28 October 2018 13:13
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Coming Back is What Matters

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Recently I was at a kirtan (devotional chanting) with Krishna Das and that’s always a good time: singing, chanting, laughing, calling on the gods and goddesses along with other saints and masters for guidance, protection, support and love. Krishna Das (aka “KD”) is a rock-star of the kirtan world and quite a character. Insightful and irreverant, KD loves a good laugh and tells it like he sees it.  In between the call and response chanting -- which often evokes a meditative, peaceful state – is when he'll share bits of wisdom he’s acquired over the course of his long journey on the path of spiritual seeking. The one that got my attention that evening and stuck with me  was, “It’s not the leaving, the going away that’s important. It’s the coming back, the returning.” Said in his deep, sonorous and gentle voice, those words sunk in and I felt I was meant...
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Guest — Amanda Campbell
What a perfect Sunday morning read. I pretend to hear KD saying it in a “deep, sonorous and gentle voice”. Thank you. Return to ... Read More
Sunday, 30 September 2018 09:30
Guest — Martha
Glad this touched you, luv. I’m with you always, in my heart.
Sunday, 30 September 2018 09:33
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Winter Solstice blessings and ritual

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For thousands of years, people all around the world have been celebrating this time of year, especially the Winter Solstice: a time when the amount of daylight and the amount of darkness are equal…..balanced. A time when, after Dec. 21st, the amount of light grows, day to day. This time of year is also a reminder of a time when people were deeply connected to the cycles and patterns of the Earth and Sky and matched their lives to the rhythms of nature. Taking cues from nature and aligning with nature connects us to a deeper, Divine thread that flows through all things. In the fall and winter: drawing within, not unlike a drawing in of roots and energy that we see with plants. In the spring and summer: bursting forth with new light and outwardly focused energy. It’s powerful when we tap into this honoring of the rhythms of nature,...
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Guest — Lisa Love
Lovely idea, Martha, thank you! Blessings to you and SoulFire.
Sunday, 17 December 2017 16:32
Martha Williams
You bet, Lisa! Thank you.
Sunday, 17 December 2017 16:39
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Balance: Taking a Cue (or two) from Nature

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 I was contemplating balance recently,  what it means and how it shows up in life.  Wondering why balance can be so elusive at times. I was flooded with images, metaphors and ways of looking at balance offered by nature.  I thought of a tree: it starts with shoots and roots sprouting from a seed, reaching down first, into the ground. Once secure in the earth, tree grows and lengthens out of the soil. Eventually branches sprout and tree lengthens away from the earth, out and up to the sky. Root and then rise. Yessssss. Same holds true in yoga with Vrksasana – tree pose. We start with the feet and legs and once stable, arms extend overhead. There’s an inward/outward and dark/light aspect to a tree’s evolution as well. First the roots reach into the earth, mostly hidden from the naked eye. From there the tree extends out of darkness towards...
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Guest — Eva Goulette
Beautiful post, very well written. You had me at every word. I am holding that your Solstice celebration in CA is well attende... Read More
Monday, 06 November 2017 19:11
Martha Williams
Thank you, dear Eva. Wonderful to hear from you. I so appreciate your support!
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 10:56
Guest — Amanda
I've been rereading this blog: about the wisdom of matching up with nature's rhythm; about the lessons of the trees, the slowing ... Read More
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 10:51
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What to do with all this chaos?


I was talking with a very wise woman recently about how unsettled I felt with all of the chaos in D.C.  She shared with me how important it is that we look at what's going on, at the forces and agendas playing out on the national and world scene and  our thoughts and feelings around it all...as much as we want to turn away and look elsewhere. We can't heal what's not seen and known to us.  She also stressed the importance of  staying grounded; connected to both Earth and the heavens, aligning with the heart as we ground.  It was a wonderful reminder of how I can choose to be in this world. Here's what I've been doing when I'm feeling unsettled and anxious these days:  Sit in a chair with feet firmly planted on the ground, closing your eyes or gazing softly at the floor in front of you....
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Holiday Stress and Overwhelm: Is it just me or can you relate??

Holiday Stress and Overwhelm:  Is it just me or can you relate??
Slowly, but surely, I've learned some strategies to prevent holiday burn-out and manage the stress that often comes with the holidays. I'm still learning, trust me, and these may not be revolutionary ideas. In fact, I'm probably writing this blog for myself...! Anyway, here are some highlights:  -slash that list of to-do's and expectations in half (if not more!) and choose to do the things I want to do vs. feel I should do, need to do, etc. It's radical and some people may not like it, but who are we serving by over-committing and over-doing? Certainly not ourselves and probably not others. In fact we're likley less "available" to others and enjoy their company when we're stretched and stressed beyond healthy limits.  -pace myself.  I don't need to buy a Christmas tree, haul the bins of decorations up from the basement, decorate the tree, put the bins back in the basement and...
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Sweet Dreams.....Try Yoga for a Better Night's Sleep

Sweet Dreams.....Try Yoga for a Better Night's Sleep
Time and again students tell me how well they sleep after yoga class. Music to my ears! If you're feeling sleep deprived or not feeling rested when you wake, you're not alone. The good news: an evening yoga class can set you up for a restful night's sleep. Mindful breathing, stretching, working your muscles and the deep relaxation at the end of class calms the nervous system and paves the way for sweet dreams. Remember the stories about the cavemen and how they had to be on alert all the time for the wooly mammoth or sabertooth tiger or who-knows-what that could threaten their lives or the lives of their clan?  The sympathetic nervous system kicks in, big time, when we feel threatened and helps us to stay alert, focused, and ready to fight or flee. Being on high alert when out hunting for food served a purpose for the cavemen:...
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CPA's Love Yoga, Too

CPA's Love Yoga, Too
A busy CPA firm in the Portland area recently hired me to teach a weekly yoga class on-site. They're  crazy busy with tax-preparation work and  decided to offer a lunch-time class from mid-Feb through March to help them manage stress and increase focus and productivity. Smart people! Here's what it looks like: I teach a class from 12 – 1 PM in a partner's office on Wednesday afternoons. When I get there we move chairs around and make just enough room for everyone to be able to roll out their mats and not bang into each other....most times...Then we do some gentle warm-ups, connect with the breath, sweat a bit, and relax in sivasana (relaxation pose). I don't know what impresses me more about these folks:-the fact that they take an hour out of their insanely busy day for yoga,-their ease and positive attitude about taking a yoga class in a...
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Guest — Debra
Way to go, Martha. I'm glad people are acknowledging how valid body awareness is, and how necessary in the work place. I'm sure... Read More
Saturday, 14 March 2015 02:10
Guest — Martha
Thank you, Debra! It's an exciting time to be sharing this work.
Saturday, 14 March 2015 09:08
Guest — Kathy
Love the blog Martha, thank you for the kind words! We so appreciate you teaching our yoga class and helping us get through tax se... Read More
Sunday, 15 March 2015 13:02
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7 Reasons Why I Love Working With People New (or sort of new) to Yoga

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Yoga isn't supposed to be about ME, the teacher, and it isn't.  Not by a long shot.  But I gotta say, I just love it when a student shows up for class who either experiences yoga for the first time or returns to yoga after taking a number of years off. That's what this month's post is about.  Here are seven reasons why I love  working with students new to yoga. 1. I feel great satisfaction and pleasure when a new face shows up in my yoga classes. It brings fresh energy into the room and it's as if I'm experiencing yoga for the first time right along with them.2. I love hearing their comments, sometimes said with awe and surprise, after their first class or two: "I'm amazed at how this peaceful feeling stays with me after class...days and days." "I didn't want to drag myself to class but I'm so...
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Guest — rasmani
so true and such good reminders -wish I was closer to do a class withyou
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 08:37
Guest — Martha
I wish you could too, Rasmani! Come visit soon!!
Thursday, 12 February 2015 22:34
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Soulfire Sessions: Opening Up Our Attention & Hearing the Voice of The Divine

Soulfire Sessions: Opening Up Our Attention & Hearing the Voice of The Divine
A friend shared an idea with me and I decided to run with it. This friend has taken a ton of fantastic workshops, learning inspiring and creative practices for sharing your experience and voice in a unique way.  The workshops are focused on growing heart-centered businesses. After all, in the realm of healing work, teaching yoga, and  personal transformation, there's a balance to be struck between marketing your business and maintaining a high level of integrity and openness. This is the first year of running my own business and I'm still learning about striking that balance. Serving others with integrity and openness is extremely important to me. Her brilliant idea: tap into the vast network of amazing teachers and thought leaders that I've come to know and love through my 9+ years working with the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and my many years of walking the path of wellness...
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Guest — Sooze
Martha Mary...this is wonderful, your soul is truly on fire and I thank you for sharing this...maybe one of these days in person... Read More
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 13:29
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Yet Another Reason Why I Love Elizabeth Gilbert...

Yet Another Reason Why I Love Elizabeth Gilbert...
Elizabeth Gilbert , author of the charming and insightful memoir Eat, Pray, Love, recently wrote an inspiring blog  about, well, pulling the trigger.  She wrote about taking action and abandoning the impulse, sometimes a crippling one, towards perfection. This impulse can hang us up and keep us from completing anything at times. Uh...yeah.  Been there, done that, more times than I care to admit. She shared how she wrote all of her books by the seat of her pants and the many ways she would have tweaked, revised, improved Eat, Pray, Love and her other works. Really? The book that touched millions and millions of people's lives and hearts?? Amazing, isn't it, the way our mind, old thought patterns, and ingrained beliefs can mess with us? So, yes. This is yet another reason why I love Elizabeth Gilbert...for being a wildly successful author and making herself vulnerable and admitting to the...
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Eric vanBok
Great job, Martha!
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 15:39
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The Sacred Valley of Peru

The Sacred Valley of Peru
As the plane dipped down above the Andes, my heart beat faster and breath grew shorter as I took in the beauty of the sloping hillsides leading down to the city of Cusco. It was a coming home of sorts, though it was my first time in Peru. I felt a tingling sensation throughout my body, a bubbling-up of great excitement and anticipation. My body, mind and soul were telling me, “Yes. This is a good thing. You are meant to be here. Welcome home. Amazing experiences await you.” This was a somewhat impulsive trip to the Sacred Valley with Alberto Villoldo and the Four Winds Society. A friend and colleague who worked at Kripalu started talking about the journey, and then a few other co-workers and friends started talking about going as well. Once I saw a picture of the land and heard a description of the itinerary, I barely gave it another thought. I was going! We would spend 10...
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Eric vanBok
Few are fortunate enough to experience the deep, visceral joy in finding just one of a personal sense of purpose, an exceptional s... Read More
Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:33
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