Monday, December 26, 2011

Tis the Season to be Meloncoly, but does it have to be?

It is no surprise to me that there are three times the amount of S.O.S. emails and phone calls coming in to my mail boxes this month. It has always been the Christmas season that brings out the worst in many people, and by that I mean, depression, anxiety, loneliness, dread and hopelessness. How can such a beautifully "dressed" season create so much negativity? Well, maybe we should start from the beginning…the beginning of the end, that is.
Just three months ago, we had more sun in our lives, more light, more time outdoors and most likely, more exercise. As the summer ends and the sun’s rays diminish, they take with it melatonin, serotonin, vitamin D and other hormones we use to stay emotionally and physically stable. When we feel the loss of the sun, we tire more easily and start to compensate by eating more carbohydrate rich foods, which makes us seem temporarily better, but actually puts us on an unmanned elevator ride. This elevator drops us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, again and again, making a new cycle within that requires more and more of the same bio-chemistry to keep us going. For a couple of weeks, we may not see a huge difference in our personality, mental thoughts or body weight, but as the months go by, clothes feel tight, hormones shift, fluids become imbalanced and, well you know the rest of the story. It is no wonder that by the time we hear our first Christmas Carol, we are looking for a reason to complain about this season.
At this point, the scrooge in many of us starts to dread the coming weeks. We may convince ourselves it is world issues, our lack of this or that, money, job, marriage, children, and physical appearance or maybe life in general that is just too tough to deal with. We can’t wait for the holiday to be over, so we go into survival mode and allow the time to pass as quickly as possible in hopes that St. Nick’s arrival will also bring an end to our inner suffering. “January 1st is my new chance…a new attitude. I will start my new life in the New Year! I will eat better. I will work out every day. I will quit smoking. I will…I will…I will.”
The truth is that at the very first sign of our decline, we need to make that resolution—a resolution that dictates a New Day that can allow us to change our attitude at any given moment instead of waiting till the end of something. We need to make a promise that we will not allow our bodies’ temporary state of being to dictate the direction of our lives, but instead to take even more steps to stay stable, so we do not “fall” victim to the sudden drops in attitude. It is our decision, always, how we move up and down. We can always decide to feel good, to change our mental, physical and emotional state. This New Year can begin this new minute, and every minute of every new day, which begs a question to be asked—why wait any longer to start yours?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

We Live

We live in a world where people are dying because they don’t have enough to eat. Then there are those that are dying because they eat too much.
We live in a world where religious people give up precious time out of their lives for their faith. And some believe their faith dictates the need to give up their precious lives.
We live in a world that values education and a child’s need to learn. And then we teach them to value everything they shouldn’t want and don’t need to have.
We live in a world that remembers the names of all the famous and the rich. So much so that we forget all the worthy and the accomplished.
We live in a world that gives out stamps to feed the poor. And then we take care of those people when they get diseases from the food the stamps bought.
We live in a world that is filled with abundance and natural resources. And then we use them without having any idea of what we are going to do when they are gone.
We live in a world that wants peace. And then we go to war in order to get it.
We live in a world that is filled with light and love. And then we forget to turn them on.
We live in a world where people pray. Let’s pray for our world.
Written by Donna Martini, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Excerpt from "The Ten Commandments of Divorce", Is there a reason we are surrounded by water?

Is There a Reason We Are Surrounded By Water?

Negativity, like an untruth, resonates from our bodies. We are all connected by the same energy and give off vibrations that can be felt by one another. I have a theory that this activity is done through our fluid. I HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO PROVE THIS! But hear me out anyway. One day, I was watching a show about dolphins and how they can communicate with each other from miles away. I started to think, could it be that humans are just like dolphins, but that water works for us from the inside out instead of the outside in?

After asking this question, I came upon the movie “What the Bleep Do We Know.” (A great view if you can follow it. I have watched it about 16 times and still can’t absorb it all.) There was a segment in the film expressing the opinions of a scientist named Masaru Emoto. He believed that water could be manipulated by negative and positive energy so he went on a mission to prove it. In the movie, he showed how he could write positive messages, like “I love you” on a glass holding plain, ordinary water. Then by freezing the water, he could capture and photograph its crystallized molecules. He also did this using negative phrases and words like “I hate you” to prove there would be a disparity among the crystals.

The results were amazing! Water crystals formed by the positive phrases were beautiful and distinct, almost forming their own language. Conversely, the negative phrases produced ugly, ill-shaped, almost non-existent crystals. The outcome astounded me and made me realize just how on track I may have been hypothesizing about water as a communication tool. Mr. Emoto truly believes that water has intelligence, and why should we doubt this? Is it too hard to believe that we may be the less intelligent life form on Earth? Aren’t we consummated in water, then spend nine months surrounded by amniotic fluid? We are made up of over 80% liquid. We need it to survive. In fact, the only substance that trumps water is air. We emote with water through tears of joy and sorrow. When you think about it, why would we have the need to cry? We can lubricate our eyes without actually creating emotion. Ever think that crying is water’s way of saying, “Here I am, emotionally expressing myself!” Okay, this sounds flaky, but do we really understand all there is to know about our bodies and how they communicate with one another or for that matter, the Earth?

After viewing this movie, I started to relate how we resonate energy, how I always know when someone is lying and how I “feel and sense” untruths even when I don’t know any circumstances. Although I may be more in tune with these sensations than most, EVERYONE can feel lies. It may come across as discomfort, mistrust, or maybe even just a question mark in your head, but it is there. When we tell or hear an untruth, it is no different than the ugly words Mr. Emoto wrote on the water glasses. Our bodies will react, and then our minds will kick in and possibly come up with a scenario to match the emotion we are feeling. Most often, we negatively manipulate those emotions into more drama that may not be based on reality at all … and so the saga continues, over and over and over again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Prologue Excerpted from "The Ten Commandments of Divorce"

The “rude awakening” came late one night just a few months after the separation.

I was in bed, restless and very aware of the empty space next to me. Sleep seemed impossible, and with no one there to spoon with or share a hug, I decided to get up and seek the comfort of my 4-year-old daughter’s room. As I walked in, the sight of curly, blond hair spilling over white sheets stopped me in the doorway. The moon’s light was making her hair shine like a halo, and I slanted a smile thinking about how angelic sleeping children can appear. I tip-toed in, adjusted the linens, as all moms do, and then knelt down beside the bed. Her breathing had a soothing rhythm, and I found myself resting my chin on the mattress so I could listen and follow.

As I studied her tiny features looking for signs of stress, I wondered if her dreams were peaceful. It was a simple notion, but it caused a shiver that left me with a disheartening thought—if this separation has made me feel so alone and isolated, so completely unsettled I found it difficult to sleep in my room by myself, how must she feel? I tugged at the ear of the teddy bear she had tucked tightly under her arm and realized it was her only night-time companion since birth. Could she be as lonely and scared as me?

And that was when it came. There was no lightning bolt or room shaking, no ethereal voice from above, but there was an indisputable shift. My body was still mine, but my emotions were not. I felt the chill of her isolation, and my heart pumped with the fear, anxiety, and guilt that only a child of divorce could know. I fought the urge to climb into bed and comfort my little girl, lay my cheek next to hers and wipe the tears away, but I realized they weren’t hers… they were mine. Somehow I was being allowed to experience her emotions. Somehow I became her, if only for a moment. But that was all it took.

When parents separate, they are so wrapped up in their own emotional turmoil, they sometimes don’t realize how incredibly troubled the kids become. We put a roof over their heads, feed them, and make sure their surroundings are sound. We may get them into therapy, naively make statements like “everything is going to be alright,” and then send them off to school as if their perception of a normal life were somehow still intact. We split up their home and send them packing every other weekend to sleep in a new bed without grasping how dramatically their universe has changed. We know on an intellectual level what we are putting them through, but do we ever try to become them, to really get into their heads and hearts?

Up until that point, I was more concerned with making money and holding it together so I could organize the day-to-day workings of my new single-parent household. I wasn’t really considering how divorced my son or daughter must have felt. After all, wasn’t I the one whose world was rocked, who lost a surname, contact with most of my friends, and was going from couple to single? The truth is I never realized my children had a new status as well. There wasn’t a name or title for them, however; nothing to signify the change in their lifestyle. We don’t actually acknowledge kids in that way. I am a divorcee, but what do we call them? Society sometimes uses the phrase “products” of divorce, as if they were manufactured goods waiting to be distributed.

That night, in the serenity of Heather’s room, with only the moon as my witness, I had my epiphany, that ‘aha’ moment that allowed a new perspective, and I embraced it. I wasn’t just a mother to my kids; I was their family, a huge part of their world, and a link to the unknown that was unfolding day to day in their short-lived but significant lives. Without me, where was their maternal guide? Without me and my leadership, each one might very well become a “product”, a product of what the outside world wanted to make of them.

It was time to understand the significance of the culmination of my eggs and his sperm. No, the Earth wasn’t supposed to revolve around me and my woes. Instead, it was meant to orbit around the incredible creations God decided to put here. As man-made as my marriage and divorce were, Heather and Matthew were not my products, and as privileged as I was to give birth to them, these children were not mine to ruin.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Idle No More!

This morning I took my cup of coffee to the window just to check out how the day looked and saw a typical winter site--a neighbor warming up their car. It prompted me to write this quick note to let everyone know, this is not necessary! Most people believe there is a need to idle their car before driving, but the truth is, only the engine gets warmed up that way. The wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission and tires also need to be warmed up in chilly weather and the only way to do that is to drive the vehicle.

According to Environment Canada (as the name implies, an environmental company in Canada), idling your car for 5 minutes increases fuel consumption by 7 to 14 percent. With a ten-minute warm-up, consumption increases to 12 to 19 percent. Besides the waste in gas though, think of the emissions and increase in carbon dioxide, which reach similar levels. Unfortunately, idling is just one issue. When I think about rubber necking, I get my engine going as well. We could cut millions of dollars from our fuel budgets and an insane and immeasurable amount of emissions from our atmosphere (not to mention our precious time!) if we just kept our eyes looking forward on our roads and highways. With all this to consider, why do we still do it?

Like everything else, there is lack of education, but if we keep talking, we can cut emissions and reduce our fuel use and cost, which also reduces our dependency. So have respect and don't rubberneck, and the next time you find your self idling during any season, think about the consequences and just pop into gear and go. The Earth will thank you for it. Spread the goodness! D.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Keeping the Peace in Divorce this Holiday Season

The holidays are especially difficult for families going through a separation or who are already divorced. I wanted to give everyone in this situation some food for thought. Although it is painful for us as adults, imagine what it must feel like to the kids. Below is an excerpt from my new book, “The Ten Commandments of Divorce. How to leave your marriage without breaking up your family.” It is a tough reminder, but sometimes we need to shake ourselves a bit when we are in so much pain. Share this with your co-parent and express to them how much you want to make this easier for the children. Take a softer stance and the energy between the two of you will change immediately. My love and special energy goes out to you as you make the tough decisions this holiday season.

Excerpted from the Commandment XVIII

Becoming a Truth Seeker

In seeking the real truth, understanding how to create an altruistic goal is the most important aspect. In other words, you are now part of a divorced family. There should never be a “what is good for me” thought in your head. You are a “we,” and you have been since the day your children were born. As the saying goes, get used to it. You have to repeatedly check yourself and ask, “Are these emotions based on reality and are they helping or hurting my loved ones?”

Why am I being so tough considering many of us may not even want to be divorced? Because we got married, we had children and then our marriages ended. No matter who did what, we are living in separated but united family units, as crazy as that sounds. More than ever, we can’t just think of our own needs. Instead, we need to keep thinking about what is good for EVERYONE, and as soon as we do, the symbiotic (and truthful) solutions will come to us.

You Can Have Your Cake, but Don’t Eat It

I have a saying, “Never deprive yourself of anything. Instead, change your mind about what you want.” By this I mean, don’t think you aren’t getting what you want just because a situation you are in doesn’t come out exactly as you first envisioned it. Sometimes, we deprive ourselves of what is good for us because we don’t want to give up what feels good to us. I usually use this phrase when speaking about food, but it applies to all of life. To help you understand, use this analogy: If you decide to go on a diet then you must give up highly caloric food. You might feel deprived at first of, let’s say, chocolate cake. Decide however that you want an incredibly fit and svelte body and now, if you eat the cake, you will be depriving yourself of a new healthy physique. Which one do you want to give up? Which is more important to you?

I know this is going to sound unsympathetic, but as adults, we need to act responsibly and sometimes we don’t like the direction that sends us in. We should always do what is right, truthful, and even heroic because our children should always come first, but do each of us do that? Clients ask me, “Does this mean that I have to give up everything that I want?” My answer is, “No, it means that you need to start wanting what is right for everyone instead of just wanting what is right for yourself.” If you make it a goal to always do what is best for the family, and you achieve this goal, then aren’t you getting what you want? So ultimately, there is no deprivation, right?

Dr. Wayne Dyer says over and over in his books, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Alter, influence, or simply change (Positively Manipulate!) your mind about what you want and look at each circumstance from a multi-faceted perspective. If it is good for the children, your ex and yourself, then soften your view of what is happening in your life and consider it to be the best solution.

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Time to Weigh in for the Fight of our Lives

Even with all of the statistics and warnings from experts, childhood obesity has been on the rise for years. According to the Center for Disease Control’s 2010 data (taken directly from their website,, about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years are obese. As high as these numbers sound, this doesn’t even include the overweight category, which is far greater. Soon, the obese will outweigh the average, making the U.S. of A. the main contender for the title, “HeavyWeight” Champion of the World.

The experts are aware of the causes. Our food has been manipulated and contrived to give a better yield and to repel pests, making it lack the nutrients needed to satisfy our bodies and almost impossible to properly metabolize. The meat, fish and poultry we have been ingesting contains so much corn (from feed) it is more like a carbohydrate than a protein. The schools’lunch and breakfast meals have been considered, at the very most, fill for the masses and greatly contributed to the issue, although I am happy to report, this has been slowly changing.

The rationale for the pudge we see on our children is obvious. So why then aren’t we changing the statistics? Why an incline instead of a decline? Our government is part of the problem since current laws and conditions allow our food to be bastardized. And this is not obvious to most people. The food looks the same, so how can we tell that it has less nutritional value? Commercials on TV promote wholesome concepts--some being outright lies (take the pro campaign for high fructose corn syrup as an example), but it is legal. Food labels are misleading, and the names of chemicals and additives have been changed to confuse the already frustrated public to such a degree that some of us are ready to grow our own veggies and raise cattle and chickens in the backyard.

So what is the answer? Maybe we should begin with asking the right question. In my coaching practice, I see children as young as 4, 5 and 6 battling weight issues (either under or over), diabetes, depression, IBS, celiac disease, addiction and learning disabilities that are linked, and often times caused by, poor food choices, intolerances, chemical additives and allergies. One of the first things I do when taking on these clients is to check out their kitchen cupboards for any and all food culprits. These are the known allergens and additives that I have seen time and again to cause a negative response in even the healthiest people. When I spot junk cereals, prepared foods like rice, pasta and chips loaded with MSG and sugar-laden cookies, I know I am going to get resistance from family members when it comes time to go shopping. One of my questions to parents is, “If you know it isn’t good, why buy it?” The response is always the same, “The kids want it. We buy it for them.” This remark makes me scratch my head. If we are trying to do what is best for our children, and most of us are, why would we poison them? Why would we spend money on fodder with chemicals? Why would we threaten their very existence for no good reason other than, “It tastes good?” When it comes to the childhood obesity solution, there is only one legitimate place for us to look…the mirror.

First lesson in learning how to be a good parent, remind ourselves of who the parent is! We have control over our pocketbooks and wallets. We know what is best, or at least, we know how to find out what is. We are the more experienced and intelligent in the equation, so we get to dictate what goes into our cabinets and what gets ingested by our kids. I’s hard. They fight tooth and tongue to get what they want. I am a single mother of two, and have heard all the whining, but it doesn’t matter. “If the other parents were letting their kids jump off of bridges, would you allow yours to do that too? Sorry to scold with a joke, but maybe it needs to be said. The truth is simple to comprehend. There would be no market for sugary cereal if we didn’t purchase it. There would be no way the mega food companies could make a living if we said "no" to their manipulated foodstuff. There would be no obesity if we fed our kids from the earth and taught them that everything going in their mouths needs to count for something. Instead, we allow the TV to teach them, and we convince ourselves that the food they want to eat must be okay because the government allows it to be sold. I have only one thing to say about that…obviously the government has no idea what they are doing or we wouldn’t be in the “shape" we are in today! To conquer obesity, we have to take the corn-filled bull by the horns. We have to remember that our dollar counts towards more than just a bag of chips. It is used as an indicator of what American families are buying and eating. If we change what we spend our money on, the companies that cater to us will have to change as well. We are seeing this happen already, but it is not enough. We are still being taken as fools and we have to be more aggressive in our stance and our fight for goodness to be brought to our tables.

I have made it my life’s work to bring wellness to the masses, but this doesn’t have to be your mission in order to create significant change. You can help yourself and your family by eliminating the unhealthy choices. Make every dollar and every calorie count towards goodness and watch the change in the shape of your household. And while you are at it, start moving! Combine your workout with spending time with the kids. Turn on the Wii box before dinner and play a sport, or better yet, go down to the school yard and shoot some baskets. Go for a walk or turn on the radio and dance in the living. Don’t just sit around and let the statistics dictate the direction your children’s lives are taking. Let these numbers be your wake-up call. "No” is sometimes the most forward-thinking and loving answer we can give. Our family's health depends on it. We have to change our attitudes about what participation we have in getting ourselves in this shape. When we do, we take control. Let's make each decision count for the good, not the bad calories in life, and when our country wins the championship of the world fight, it will be for our strengths, not our weaknesses.

Written by Donna Martini, 12/2/2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

With honor and love...

Years ago, I was involved with a construction project on the fifth floor of an office building. We were in the paint phase of the project when an office worker from the floor below complained about the smell of the paint. We had to stop the project and put workers on overtime to complete it during the Memorial Day weekend when no one was around. Even though it presented no danger and the paint was water based, her right to breath air with no smell superceded our need to finish the space on time and within budget. Although I respected it, this woman's request seemed a little frivilous to many because there was no eminent danger. Still it was adhered to and I spent the holiday weekend enduring the complaints of construction workers, who were barking statements like, "Good thing she wasn't in the army, she couldn't have even handled the latrine!"

This event had a great impact on me. At the time, I was fighting for the rights of non-smokers and smoke-free environments. It was a short time later that I used the incident as an argument to legislators when trying to pass laws for casino workers in Atlantic City. "Why are we making sure office environments are safe from emisions like paint fumes, but others have to deal with Class A carcinogens from cigarettes? What makes one person's life more valuable than another?" The argument worked to put question marks in the heads of some decision makers, but the dent it left on me was far deeper.

Every Memorial Day weekend, I remember those painter's gripes. Even though this day is about honoring those who have died while under the employment of our Country, I think about how they lived, the conditions they endured, how they felt about being there, and if they had regrets. I wonder how the position of soldier even exists! Who wakes up in the morning and decides, "I think I will give up all the comforts of my life today for the sake of others"? How do we enlist soldiers to serve our Country in ways we as civilians can't even imagine and would never tolerate! While that woman complained of paint fumes, an army sargeant was somewhere in the world breathing in exhausts, emissions and carcinogens that probably can't even be measured on an EPA scale. At the same, time a computer specialist is on disability for an achy back and is asking for a better chair from his employer, which he has the right to do, but a soldier off from guard duty is sleeping on sand and gravel with his helmet as a pillow.

No one would argue that a secretary needs a headset for her phone so her neck won't get strained, but we allow a marine to wrench his shoulder walking ten miles in the desert with 50 pounds of gear in the hot sun. And sometimes it isn't even about the conditions we are in. How many of us can remember fretting about how to ask our boss for a personal day, but do we realize that at the same time, a young soldier is praying to be able to see his family again and asking God, "For one more day, can you keep me alive?"

It all makes you wonder, should we be offering more than just gratitude on Memorial Day? What is the best way to honor those we have lost or may be losing? Is it to just raise a flag and say a prayer, or should we be making a commitment to make ourselves a little uncomfortable and do something, anything, to show them what their lives and deaths have meant to us?

I am thinking, Memorial Day should be about doing, not just reflecting. It should be about the future, not just the past, and it should be ongoing, not just for today. I am going to stick some uncooked rice in my shoes this week, and each time I take a step, I will remember what comforts someone else has or is giving up for me. I am going to try and love and honor every one I come in contact with, because in doing so, I am loving and honoring the memory of every one of the tens of thousands who have died. After all, our Country's freedom means nothing if we don't have forgiveness, love, civility and peace amongst ourselves.

When a soldier loses his or her life, in that single moment when they know it is their time to go, I wonder if they ask themselves, "will this all be for nothing?" Sadly, that is a sentiment I can't change. But when they look down on me to check in every once in a while, I want them to see an American who is trying to live up to the precedent they have set. I want them to be as proud of me as I am of them. I will admit, I am not brave enough to do their job, but the least I can do is let them know, they did not die in vain.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Partridge in a Clock Tree

Last week was tea with Nana, our bi-weekly, although lately, monthly ritual. Nana and I have much in common even with our 43-year age difference. It would seem that I acquired my desire to "nest" from her, and I've been told, my gift for decorating. Now you must understand, this is not an ordinary gift. Magnificent feats of design and layout have been achieved by this woman, and dare I say, she is in a category not easily described. We have been known to condense the entire contents of a house into one room and never mind what has been accomplished with a can of spray paint and elmers glue. Having the need to be thrifty increased our creativity, and throughout the years, we have scanned the streets of her old neighborhood in Bensonhurt picking up rare finds at every garage and stoop sale we could walk to.
Nana has never lived in an apartment any larger than a thimble, so when I speak of her skill, you need to picture what she has to work with. Since moving to her Long Island home, however, I thought this "talent" was put to the test for the last time. I was wrong. Her zeal continues at 93, and the room she has been sleeping, cooking, dining, and entertaining in for 10 years was freshened and feng shui'd for what I would guess is the 100th time. I couldn't help but notice that she did not lose her flair either. I decided to take an inventory, because, even as her decorating partner, I couldn't believe how much "stuff" surrounded us. "Nana is that new?" This was the inquiry that started all the fun. "Oh", she says, "do you mean my new bird?" "How many birds does that make now?" I asked. She looked around. I looked around. Clearly, there were too many to mentally count. 26 birds (about 15 species) later, I was on a mission, and let me tell you, those feathered creatures had plenty of company with 13 cats, 6 dogs, 2 stetsons, 2 pigs, 1 rabbit, 1 horse, 2 fish, 4 elephants, and 2 eggs in a nest. In case she needed to know what time it was (even in the bathroom) there were 8 clocks. Then 36 picture frames, 10 pieces of faux fruit in 4 baskets, 14 plants and flower arrangements, 8 angels, 30 ginger jars and 2 ceramic shoes, 20 pillows, 13 tables, 3 plant stands, 7 chairs, 1 sofa, 6 dressers, and 4 lamps make it home.
I was a little exhausted after the count and sat down at one of the room's two dining sets. She poured me some more tea. "Donna Ann, did I tell you? When the maintenance man came to fix the window he said that I have the nicest, most well organized apartment in the entire complex!" Before I could answer her, my eye caught sight of a statue near the front door that I must have missed on my first go round. It was a bird and yet another clock in a fruit tree. I smiled. "It's just perfect Nana."