Miriam Mason Martineau

Welcome to my blog! I look forward to sharing with you myriad reflections, questions and musings. I’d would love to hear any responses and comments that arise for you, so please dive in and weave the conversation with me!

Ode to the Elasticity of the Mother Heart

(Originally posted in the Huffington Post 10/04/2013)

I was a real family girl as a kid… well attached, loved my family to bits, substantially more prone to homesickness than my siblings. I remember the feeling of being curled up with my mama as one of the most all-encompassing experiences of complete goodness and safety.

And now? I live a long ways away from them. An ocean and a continent lie between us — about 8329.41 km (or 5175.67 miles).

Home has shifted. My new family is now “home.” My daily heart-orientation circles around them, even as I still dearly love and appreciate my family of origin, and cherish our rare times together in person.

Such is the common story of growing up, of course, while taking place in all styles and variations. Generally this is how it goes: we start out close with and fully dependent on our parents. We grow up. We move away and make our own lives.

Now here’s the thing: Up until becoming a mother myself, I never fully appreciated just what that meant for the parent, and in this instance, for my mother.

I didn’t realize, until having my own daughter, just how incredibly elastic, how flexible my mother’s heart had to be, to love so deeply and to let go so fully. Read more…

What to Do When My Child Lies?

13 Ways to Respond, Prevent, and Strengthen Honest Communication

(Originally posted in Huffington Post, June 2, 2014)

Think of the times in your life you have lied. And why.

Were you afraid of what would happen if you told the truth? Worried how the other would react? Whether you’d get into trouble?

Or because you felt ashamed? Because covering up the truth seemed easier than dealing with the lie? Because you felt the other wasn’t ready to hear the truth?

Or perhaps because you didn’t even know the truth yourself, weren’t yet in touch with it? Or you just wished so very much that things were different?

Whichever the reasons may be, I invite you to keep in mind your own journey with truth-telling, its opposite, and all the in-between shades of grey, as we consider how to respond when our children lie, and how to encourage them in finding and expressing their truth, in this way building relationships that are worthy of trust — trustworthy.

When parents discover their children are lying to them, they are usually filled with keen dismay, sometimes incredulity, puzzlement or anger, and underneath it all, always, in my experience, with sadness.

We know intuitively that truth-telling is key to building and nurturing a trusting relationship. We know that without it, we quickly enter slippery ground. It becomes harder to know one another, difficult to trust. Lies get in the way of closeness, intimacy and connection.

Over the past few months this question has come up frequently in my counseling and parent coaching practice: What do we do when we find our child lying to us? How to deal with, prevent, heal and course-correct?

It is a vast topic and inquiry. In this article I share with you 13 ways to prevent, as well as to respond. Read more…

The Sustaining Weave of Small Gestures

(originally posted in Huffington Post, Dec. 23, 2013 )

A few days ago, as I brought my Christmas mail to the post office, a young mother caught my eye. She was planting a quick kiss on her envelopes before dropping them in the mailbox. She did it covertly, so no one would see. But I did.

I asked her if she does this with all her mail. She nodded. We exchanged a few words and a moment of mutual recognition.

Read more…

We-Retreat ~ Notes & Reflections

Notes & Reflections on our recent We-retreat at Morning Star, Next Step Integral headquarters in British Columbia, Canada, August 15-20, 2013

The emergence of a higher We is a fertile field. As tempting as it may be to claim, “This is my idea!” or “I wrote / discovered that first!” or any other variation of ownership, such claims are in their very essence contrary to what this higher We is all about. Anyone who has experienced the higher We knows this.

One of the core “ingredients” needed in us to contribute to its emergence is a profound humility, a “leaving the ego at the door” and showing up as fully as possible in authentic Presence. Those who write articles or present about this next step in human consciousness are doing important work. Let’s acknowledge their contributions generously and accurately. Let’s reference the trail of articulations as well as we can. We build upon the attentive listening of so many others, alive now and before us.

Read more…

Receive Generously: Getting to the Core of Our Human Thirst

(Originally posted in Huffington Post, April 16, 2013)

I was 13 when, due to a number of conducive circumstances — including being immersed in gorgeous choral singing in a candlelit chapel, and my own spiritual fervor — I experienced my first conscious glimpse of God’s unconditional love. Of being bathed in the incredible love and grace that is there to partake in.

The experience stands out for a number of reasons, one being that it remains a blessed memory in my life’s journey. Another — which leads me to the theme of today’s blog — is that it pointed to one of the paradoxical ways I see us dear humans repeatedly tripping over our own two feet. Read more…

You’re It! An Invitation to Show Up Fully

(Originally posted in Huffington Post, November 12, 2012)

Remember that feeling when you played tag as a kid and got caught? “You’re it!” And there was no more running away, no swerving or turning back.

The only way onward was to be it, to go for it, to play and run. Do you recall the mixture of yikes and excitement that would arise just seconds before you got tagged?

It’s that blend of “yikes” and “excitement” and what possibilities emerge when we’re “it” that I’d like to explore today. Which, really, is every moment. Life is tagging us each moment; we’ve just become so good at hiding out, we don’t always notice the tap on the shoulder.

However, whilst I may ignore that tap many a time, there are activities in my life that consistently bring me right to that place where hiding out is impossible, or at least, in which hiding out backfires fairly fast, the feedback is direct and “in my face,” and the only real way forward is to fully become and be “it.” Read more…

For the interim time…

(Originally posted in Huffington Post, February 2, 2012)

This past week, I have been living life with tears just behind the layer of daily functioning, joys and busyness. The troubles of this world, the craziness of our humanity and the suffering we inflict and experience have felt so close, also the contortions, confusion and tangled webs we weave… It has felt as if my soul were getting cracked open a bit more.

Such times — when my skin feels thinner, and the darkness beckons more intensely — happen every once in a while. It is tempting to turn away. To distract myself. To give up and get cynical. Or angry, even allow a moment of “f*** it all.” Despair calling from just behind my ear, reaching with deliberate grasp, pulling on my coat sleeve, and yanking down.

What to do? As we grow up (as in “waking up”), our awareness increases. We become more and more conscious. We see more, and we feel more. Not just the good, beautiful and true, but also the deepest grief, suffering and ugliness. The illusions are stripped down. What’s on the other side is not always pretty.

Read more…

Reflections on our recent Integral Community Seminar

It’s been over a month since we gathered at Whidbey Institute on gorgeous Whidbey Island for our 2011 seminar. Over 50 of us came together to explore and experience what integral community feels like, looks like, and what it takes to evolve the collective, both within ourselves and amongst us all. Most of all we came together to see what potential next steps emerge from evolving the WE.

It was an incredibly rich week. I look back and am so heartened by what happened. To tell you the truth, I was both excited and a bit nervous leading up to the seminar. This seminar was about discovering and exploring a new field together, pushing the edge of what we knew together! Territory that is so much more emergent than established. There was a definite sense of diving into the unknown.

Read more…

How far can we take our gratitude?

Originally posted in Huffington Post, September 25, 2011 (Title “Can you be grateful for what you don’t like?)

“Lying under a starry night last week while camping and looking up for shooting stars with my 8-year old daughter, our conversation turned to gravity, what it is and how it keeps us from spinning off the face of the earth. We both lay there, letting the significance of gravity sink in, noticing our minds grappling with the immensity of it, and then turning our attention back to the Great Dipper and the Milky Way. The next day, as we shared grace before lunch and spontaneously expressed gratitude for a variety of things, my daughter spoke: “And thank you for gravity, even if I don’t understand it.”

Read more…

The Art of Discernment

Originally published in Huffington Post, July 13, 2011.

Sunday afternoon, with an hour to spare, I wander to the garden to thin some baby carrots – those wee beginnings of carrots, just tufts of green really – so as to create more space for the few I leave to fully grow and flourish. The sun is warm on my back as I get busy with this task that takes focused attention: one pull too many and a whole potential carrot is gone!

As I make my way down the rows slowly and carefully, I notice the challenge I face every time I perform this gardening task: To enable a few to thrive I need to pull out a lot of others and the thicker I originally sowed, the more I have to yank out. I don’t like yanking out baby carrots, even if my logical mind tells me they’re just tiny carrots and my gardening experience knows that if I don’t do this, none of them will do well. As I go about the task, I wish I hadn’t planted quite as thickly to begin with. I also try to figure out which ones look strong and healthy (those ones I leave) and I pay attention to spacing them evenly, so that each one left has enough soil and light to grow in. Read more…