About Martha (May, 2012)
I started out as a child. (I love that line from an ancient comedy routine – now I finally get to use it!)
I started out as a child, living in a tiny dust-blown town in West Texas. I had a brief life as an attorney in Austin, Texas, long enough to win a US Supreme Court case [Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979)] and decide that life was not for me. I've had a much longer life as a facilitator - first working with mental health professionals to help them identify and address the legal aspects of their work, later in the extraordinary personal growth experiences of Insight Seminars. I've facilitated meetings and workshops for Interaction Associates, offering practical tools, approaches and outcomes for collaborative leaders and teams. I've worked through my own company Higher Ground with many small companies, nonprofits, governmental agencies as well as with individuals. I've co-facilitated the amazing Wilderness Experience in the mountains and rivers of Idaho with the amazing Terry Tillman. I've created and led 20+ years’ worth of the crazy-wonderful Captains Courageous sailing adventures, facilitating personal growth and professional development for individuals and teams aboard sailboats in US and Caribbean waters. And I’ve been blessed by a wonderful collection of friends, family members and mentors along the way.
In February 2011, my husband Peter and I set off on our 40-foot sailboat Lightheart to cruise the Caribbean and beyond until we couldn't or didn't want to do it any longer. That cruise ended much sooner than we expected: 9 months into our adventure, while awaiting the end of hurricane season in the usually-below-the-hurricane-belt island of Grenada, we took a group hike into the back country. Several of us followed a guide up a mountain and descended by jumping a series of waterfalls. On my jump from the last falls, I landed badly and broke my back. (You can read more of that story on our Lightheart Sailing blog.) I was air-ambulanced to Philadelphia for 2 surgeries and the addition of a load of titanium to my spinal anatomy. After 3 months of rehab in Philadelphia, we came to Santa Barbara to receive of the love and support of my sister and some dear friends while I continue my recovery and while we both contemplate what might be next in our lives.
As I write this (2012), I’m recovering remarkably well, far better and faster than anyone predicted. Lightheart remains in Grenada awaiting our decision about what to do with her. Throughout my life, whether I’ve been on seas or mountains or in corporate boardrooms or hospital rooms or anywhere else, I’ve always been on a journey of exploration. My most challenging and rewarding adventures have been those of Spirit/Soul/Heart. In so many of my life experiences, I have looked for the lessons that could bring me Home. Some I recognized immediately, some took a long time, some are still very much in process, and some clearly haven't shown up yet.
But one thing I HAVE learned is that the heart is the most reliable navigational tool for sailing the seas of life. By "heart," I mean that part of me that loves and accepts without judgment and without reserve; that part of me that recognizes the hand of God (Spirit, Universe, Light, Flow, whatever you want to call it) in all things and knows without doubt that all is well, no matter how it may seem to my mind, emotions and body.
So this blog is about learning to navigate by heart. I include in its name that of my company Captains Courageous because it's so meaningful: from the French, the phrase connotes "Leaders of Heart." I hope you'll enjoy navigating this journey with me, and let me know how you're doing in taking the lead in navigating your own journey by heart.