Sunday, November 9, 2008

I'm Flyin' Now

I did it! I know. I said I'd wait until the day after Thanksgiving, but last Wednesday American Airlines put their flights from Austin to Kauai on sale---60% off the regular price. I was stunned and thrilled. I booked through AMEX where I had a $1000 worth of rewards points. Then the topper was that because I had trouble booking online and called AMEX, they gave me $800 off of the the price of the the trip. Aah, waiting until last minute can pay off sometimes. That's hard for a planner like me to admit.

So, we leave 12/29 and come back 1/5. On the 30th, my 60th birthday, we'll be flying all around Kauai in a small plane. Then on New Year's Eve we're going to a luau and then to the beach to watch the fireworks over the water. We've rented a convertible to get around on the island. The hotel is located on the beach and was surprisingly inexpensive. I can't believe after 10 months of waiting I finally know what I'm doing on my 60th birthday.

But what about the profound change I was hoping for during this year? Has it happened? Surprisingly, yes, I believe it has. Not because of anything I have done. It's happened because Barak Obama is now going to be president. The profound change is in me because he won? I have hope again. I realized at the moment the news splashed across my tv screen that for the last 8 years I have been in a funk, a gray haze with not the slightest glimpse of light leading into the future. I've felt a profound sadness deep inside that America had passed its glory days and the future was all downhill from now on. But Obama's unwavering belief that things can be better and that everyone can be part of making it better, his belief that "we can do it," truly gives me hope. Everyday since the election I've gotten up feeling lighter.

I know, not everyone agrees with me on this issue and some may even feel that funk because Obama won. But I have faith that if people just give him a chance, he will lift our spirits and take our country to place of respect in the world again. I believe he has "the right stuff" and will be a great leader.

Winston Chuchill said, "Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it." I believe we'll all be "drinking champagne" in the next 4 years.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Planning vs. Winging It

In an effort to do some preparing for my birthday celebration, I now have 3 more places to add to my list of backup plans: Ruidoso, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Santa Barbara, California, and, of course, Paris was already on the list. But I still haven't given up on Kauai, Hawaii and Costa Rica.

My husband keeps asking me when I'm going to make a decision. Odd! He's the spontaneous one. I've decided I'm going to "maybe" make a decision on Nov. 27th, Thanksgiving Day.

Why is that some of the most special moments in life, are completely unplanned and are just stubbled upon? And could some inventor out there come up with a way to bottle those moments. Pictures, if taken at those times, can help. But what about the moments we can't photograph? And could this inventor also figure out how to share those moments fully with people who weren't there?

Oh!, "head slap," Serendipity (An unsought, unintended, or unexpected discovery, made by accident and sagacity; The discovery of something by accident while investigating something quite different)and ephemeral (things that are transitory, existing only briefly)are the very essense of and is what makes these moments special. I guess if we could truly capture these moments in all their entirety, they would lose their specialness.

Being fully awake and present prepares us to fully appreciate special moments when they come around. Carolyn C. Martin

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Evolving 60th Year

It's been an interesting last few days with the economic crisis. How I will be celebrating my 60th birthday will be effected. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise that I haven't planned anything yet. What life-changing experience will I go through because things may shift so dramatically in the coming months?

I believe no matter what may come, I will grow from it. I believe we all will learn and grow a great deal from the coming months.

There is an element of opportunity in every crisis.
Carolyn C. Martin

Friday, September 12, 2008

More Roots

Well, I never made it to see Lucy, my long lost relative from Ethopia. But in the last year I have been tracing my closer family roots. is an amazing thing. I found two distant cousins who are passionate about geneology too and we have been furiously exchanging information about the Newton family and all the descendents.

Again as I approach my 60th birthday, I'm trying to make dramatic changes in my life. Not to say my life is bad. It certainly isn't, but I feel as though going from 59 to 60 is a passage into, at least mentally, the phase of life called "crone," a phase of wisdom, maturity and spirtuality. In pagan beliefs, I should have gone through that phase at 50, and I guess in many respects I did. But I've also always been a late bloomer. Or maybe, because people live longer now, we can hold off moving into "cronehood" until 60.

With my transition to 60, I've decided to go back to the place of my farthest recorded roots. I'm going to Pennsylvania in October. I hope to plug the gaps in my family history. It will be an interesting journey. I'm going alone. It seems that as we age, it is our destiny to be alone. We come into the world alone and become part of something bigger, but at the end, we go out alone.

But until that day comes for me, well, I say, there's no reason you can't be wise, mature, spiritual and, also, flying down the highway of life at 90 miles an hour with the top down. I bet B B Ellerbeck was at least 60 when he designed the first retractable hardtop car in 1931.

By the way, did I mention we bought a convertible a month ago?

60 is the new 50, and I'm going to live the rest of my life like my pants are on fire. Carolyn C. Martin

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Addiction

I discovered this week that I have addiction. I never knew this. Of course, the "first step" to dealing with any addiction is "acknowledging you are powerless over _________." Well, I'm publicly acknowledging that I am powerless over planning. I feel so compelled to "plan" that I can hardly help myself. I discovered this thing about myself as I have gone through the the last few months with my pending birthday celebration looming over me. My "plan" was to wait until the last minute to "plan" my birthday vacation. This decision was a "plan" to try to have a life changing experience during the year proceeding my 60th birthday.

But I never dreamed my life changing experience would lead to a discovery of addiction. I just can't stand not knowing what I'm going to do for this vacation. Everytime I have a free moment, I find myself trying to find "a cheap flight, vacation etc." I just can't seem to leave it to chance. Of course, the wise thing to do would be to "plan" ahead in order to get the least expensive flights, accommodation, etc. And, my criteria for what it is we will do, is that it can't be expensive. So, I keep thinking, the only thing cheap enough in December will be to somewhere like Alaska, a place where no one would want to go between Christmas and New Years--in the dead of winter.

But I, also, discovered that unconsciously I had a back-up "plan." Tickets to Paris in the winter are very cheap. If all else fails, we'll be in Paris for my birthday and New Years. Who could complain about that? So, like all addicts, I've got a something "stashed" away if I need it. I can get my fix just by reminding myself that I have a back-up plan.

Spontaneity is way overrated and given half a chance I'll stamp it out.
Carolyn Martin

Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm Now Available on Release

Carolyn C. Martin can now be found at for live chat or phone counseling or by email.
Issued By: Mariposa PsychotherapyJul 03, 2008 21:22:56

PRLog (Press Release) – Jul 03, 2008 – After doing counseling and psychotherapy in private practice and in hospitals for over 20 years, Carolyn C. Martin, MS, LPC, LMFT, has become available for online chat, phone counseling and through email at Ms. Martin is a Licenced Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist in Austin, Texas. She provides counseling & therapy to individuals, couples, and families. She feels that her first task as a therapist is to establish trust with my clients. Then she willI help them discover better ways of dealing with their world. Her approach to therapy is compassionate, reassuring and solution oriented. She sees individuals for depression, anxiety and sexual abuse. She sees couples for premarital, marital, post-divorce, specializing in issues of infidelity, affairs, and cheating. She also sees clients for parenting issues, specializing in the problems of new parents. Ms. Martin uses a multitude of therapeutic approaches: cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, psychodynamic, existential, behavioral, and family systems therapy, etc. Coming from a teaching background, she is acutely aware that clients have a wide variety of learning styles. She trys to fit the method to the client. When working with couples in premarital or marriage counseling, she assesses & facilitates change using the research & methods of John Gottman. This approach for martial success is comprehensive and highly effective. She is a Certified Gottman Educator for the Bringing Baby Home Workshop also. You can also find her at

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

Today's blog seems forced. I have no topic in mind, no great wisdom to share, and only a few minutes to write. The weather is beautiful here in Austin, Texas, and I'd rather be outside. I just came from a walk, but who can get enough of perfect weather. Unfortunately, I have to work--paperwork, yuck.

Shouldn't there be some rule like, "Paperwork is not allow if it's between 70 and 80 degrees, there's not a cloud in the sky and flowers are popping out as you read this rule?"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Big Life Change

So, after much exploration of places to go for my birthday, I began planning a romantic, adventure vacation to Kauai, Hawaii. I did my research, found flights and hotel, decided we would "take flight" on a helicopter on my birthday and would spend New Year's at a luau. WOW! A real dream of a vacation.

So, I was ready to press the botton and book the trip because I had it all planned out in my head. I always plan, plan thoroughly and tenaciously. I have to know what's coming, and I take great joy in fantacizing about what is to come. The planning is as important as the trip itself. All our trips are basically planned by me. Yes, I can be spontaneous, but only "planned spontaneity."

Then it hit me. If I really am looking for a life change, not planning would be the more obvious way to go. Oh, the agony of giving up a lifelong habit, a good habit, but any habit can be a curse. It's hard to believe, but I've decided to wait until the last minute to plan this trip. Last minute deals are all over the internet.

I'm "flying blind" on this one and I'm having withdrawal. I just can't help myself. I keep checking vacation deals and then catching myself. Reluctantly, I shut down the website and walk away from my computer. Ugg!

"Old habits die hard, and I need a jump start." Carolyn C. Martin

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Origins of Happiness

So, as I thought about going to see Lucy, my long lost relative and the origin of humankind (refer to the last entry), I've been thinking about the origins of happiness. What made Lucy happy? My lack of knowledge about humans in that time period makes it hard to imagine what made her happy. However, in such a primal state, I would guess that having safety, food, and shelter for herself and her young was what made her happy. But as humans have evolved, we have developed other ways of finding happiness once our basic needs are met.

"I believe that satisfaction, joy and happiness are the ultimate purposes of life. And the basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion, and love." The Dalai Lama

Monday, March 3, 2008

Birthday Experience

The search for my 60th birthday experience is still on. I've explored Africa, the Med, the Caribbean, and Central America as possible birthday vacations. Each has a lot to offer.

Since we're talking about celebrating my birth, I thought it only proper I find my long lost relative, Lucy. For those of you who are unaware, Lucy is the name of the oldest remains of a human. She was found in Hadar, Ethiopia and is on display in Houston until some time in April. The belief is that Ethiopia is the "birthplace" of humankind. While I could just go visit her in Houston, I'd rather go to Ethiopia where it all began.

Tandem hang gliding is on the list of things to do. It's the nearest to flying, my effort to recapture my childhood dreams of flying. But I also have discovered rainforest canopy adventures in Costa Rica. Straight out of one of my favorite movies, Medicine Man, I've found the real-life experience that thrills me everytime I watch this movie. Flying through the trees on a belay has now caught my attention.

But what about the name of this blog, The Secret Life of a Butterfly? Let us not forget that there are over 1,000 butterfly species found in Costa Rica and they are everywhere in the air year round.

And, also, "being" in the presence of lions, tiger, elephants, hippos etc on a safari has always intrigued me. I guess another movie is responsible for this--Out of Africa. My husband keeps warning me of the polical unrest in Kenya. Dear, I'll never "own a farm in Africa." Can't I at least see what I'm missing.

Then there's another experience, again, straight out of a movie, Gorillas in the Mist. As my husband keeps reminding me, Uganda and Rwanda are in political unrest also. But to sit as Dian Fossey did, just watching the gorillas, would delight the child, educate the psychologist and enlighten the human in me.

The Med, well, I just have always wanted to take a cruise, see Cairo, Morroco, and Greece. On the other hand, the Caribbean is has perfect weather for a December birthday.

I also have been trying to remember that we'll be on the trip during New Year's. So, where do I want to start 2009?

Time is slipping away fast. I started thinking about this 1/1/08. Somehow, it's now 2/2/08. So I've been thinking maybe I could just start celebrating now by visiting Lucy in Houston. She's got a neighboring exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science--the Butterfly Habitat.

"Life comes at you fast." Commerical for Geico Insurance
"Orange is the new pink and now is the new yesterday." --Carolyn Martin

Divorce--Stay or Go?

Marriage is a lot of work sometimes. And, even though you may have worked hard to make things go well in your marriage, there sometimes comes a point in time when you have to make a decision — the decision between staying to fight for your marriage, or moving away from the marriage to find happiness and peace.

In order to make the decision, you may need more information or someone to help you process what you're going through. Gathering information from books, magazines, the internet, etc. can help. Talking to a friend or relative may help. Or seeing a professional may be helpful.
The important thing is to make a decision. Being in "limbo" is a horrible feeling because you can't really get rooted if you are in limbo... all you know is that you aren't happy and don't know what to do. You may feel stuck in a rut or feel as if you are wandering aimlessly.

When trying to make a decision whether to divorce, consider the following:
1. Have you gone to marriage counseling? Many marriages that seem doomed can actually be saved.
2. Have you gone to marriage counseling, and it didn't help? Every therapist has their own style and belief about how marriage can be saved. If you did marriage counseling before, and it wasn't helpful, there may have been a miss-match between you and the therapist. Isn't your marriage worth trying again?
3. Have you and your spouse taken the time to talk and isolate the real problems of the marriage without blaming each other? This is hard but can be very worthwhile.

I often hear:
1. "But we're just friends now. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Friendship is the basis of the best marriage. If you need more in the marriage, you and your partner can work on that.
2. "We fight constantly. Doesn't that mean we should get a divorce?" Conflict is normal and natural in any relationship. The trick is to learn how to have conflict that brings you closer together instead of further apart.
3. "My partner won't change. Does that mean I should divorce?" Change isn't easy sometimes. It takes time and patience. See my page on Why Do People Change?
4. "We're not in love anymore." If you still love each other but aren't "in love," the marriage very possibly can be saved, and you can bring the romantic love back.
5. "I don't trust my spouse anymore. Isn't that a dangerous sign?" It could be. Trust is the foundation of all good marriages. If you don't have it, you don't have much, but many times the trust can be revived.

The following facts can also help you decide whether to stay in your marriage or divorce. No matter what your decision, these things may also help you decide how you will conduct yourself in either scenario.
1. Divorce is always painful for children, no matter how old they are. But it's not always traumatic.
2. Divorce does not end the relationship between you and your spouse, it just changes the rules of the relationship.
3. The divorce takes place psychologically for children on the day of the separation.
4. Two people living apart cannot live as cheaply as two people living together. Almost always both partners' standard of living drops.
4. Unhappy parents cannot raise happy children.
5. When parents live apart, children have more opportunities to manipulate them.
6. Divorce is a process, not an event.
7. There are no winners in divorce.
You're considering divorce can reach me at 512-795-0402 or visit divorce counseling on my website.
I am located at 4131 Spicewood Springs, M-1, Austin, Texas 78759

Marriage & the New Baby

Ah! There's nothing like bringing a new baby home. You fall in love with that beautiful angelic face, and your heart just melts. What could be more delightful than holding that precious bundle you've been waiting on for nine months?
You bring Little "Johnny" or "Suzy" home and start your new life as a family. But did you know, according to research done by John Gottman, Ph.D. at the Relationship Research Institute,

1. Within three years after the birth of a child, approximately two-thirds of couples will experience a significant drop in relationship quality and have a dramatic increase in conflict and hostility.

2. On the first birthday of a child, his/her parents have a 67% chance of reporting that they are unhappy with their marriage.
3. 50% to 80% of new mothers and 30% of new fathers suffer depression – the result of dramatic drops in couple intimacy?

4. Couples often forget or are unaware that their relationship needs nurturing just like their new baby needs nurturing, and therefore, often find themselves neglecting the relationship.

"We now know that the couple's emotional life is the real foundation for a baby's development. A hostile parent-parent relationship holds lasting negative effects on the baby' emotional and cognitive development. These long-tern effects mean that a majority of American children are experiencing a tragic loss of family connection long before they ever enter school." says John Gottman, Ph.D.

Research shows that when a parent is depressed, babies:
1. become less responsive, emotionally withdrawn and lack joy.
2. won't explore their environment and won't experience new events with delight.
3. develop brain wave patterns that resemble those of its depressed parent.
may have developmental delays.
4. have an inability to self-soothe and attend to play.
5. show lower scores in areas of intellectual development by age four.

When a parent's relationship is distressed, babies
1. have more negative interactions with their parents than other babies.
2. withdraw from their fathers.
3. are at risk for developing mental heath problems.
4. are less physically healthy and sick more often.
5. are at increased risk for developing behavioral problems.

If you, your spouse or your relationship is experiencing distress due to BRINGING BABY HOME find a therapist trained to deal with this issue.

"The greatest gift you can give your child is a strong relationship between the two of you. The real cradle that holds your baby is the emotional world between the two of you."John Gottman, Ph.D.

I am a Certified Gottman Educator for the Bringing Baby Home Workshop also. For more info about the Bringing Baby Home Program see If you would like to work in this area, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or on my website at Bringing Baby Home

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time between blogs--Loss of a Dream

Since I last wrote, I've been faced with the loss of a lifetime dream. I've seen my clients go through this on many occasions, watching it produce significant depression and sadness. Losing any dream is significant, but losing a dream you've had most of your life can be devastating.

My dream, like so many of my clients' dreams, was based on making the world a better place. Not that I don't feel I've contributed some to that. My profession gives me that opportunity and gift, a gift I am always so grateful for. But many times we have very specific ways we would like to achieve a dream. We've narrowed the dream down to being the most closely expressed way of fulfilling that dream. And I find that these specific ways of expressing the dream are based on our values and moral beliefs. They go to the core of who we are, and therefore, they are an expression of who we are. Unfortunately, those are the dreams, when lost, that make us question our purpose in life, the reason for our existence and even our worth.

I am so fortunate to have watched and helped assist my clients tackle these kinds of losses. They do it with such courage. I feel so blessed that they are willing to share that experience with me. So through my clients, I've learned to face my loss, accept my loss, move on and focus on achieving my dream, just not in the way I had planned.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans." Bob Dylan

Monday, January 14, 2008


For me, today, it is a day of knowing too much. I wish it meant being smarter, but instead, it feels like supreme ignorance. For some "unknown" reason I am hyper aware of everything around me and inside of me. It feels like being engulfed by thousands of watts of electricity. It feels overwhelming and confusing.

I've followed my morning routine of breakfast, meditating, walking then blogging. Normally, this is calming and prepares me to do my day's work, but today, something else is happening. Maybe if I just try "being" with the feeling.

As I wrote that last sentence, I felt that feeling of "being overwhelmed" dissipate. Just being is so simple, but often, so exceedingly difficult. Being right in this moment, just letting this moment happen, can be such a struggle. What a paradox.

And letting go of the struggle can be so freeing. Why don't we do it more often? Why is it so easy to forget that we can just "be?" As a child I didn't forget. I would go about all day just being and no one had to remind me to do it. I just did it. No wonder I had those flying dreams. I spent all day "being" myself, feeling free to "be" myself. At night in my sleep, my mind gave me wings to metaphorically relive that feeling of being so free.

Jon Kabat-Zinn tells us that this kind of "being" is the essence of "self-love."
Jennie Craig tells us that "self-love is the only weight loss aid that really works in the long run."

Friday, January 11, 2008

In "Not Knowing"

My week has been filed with many things and many moods, good and bad. In many moments I find myself thinking about what my next blog "should" be. Now at the end of this week, I've learned to turn "shouldness" into "awareness." If I let them, my thoughts can be awarenesses of what I could write about.

Thoughout my younger life I struggled with "not knowing" and needing to have the answers to everything. I had a habit of "predicting," as best I could, my future. My wise and much appreciated therapist, Kerry, would make me "aware" of my habit and challenge me to just, "be."

I got really good at "being" until I experienced the worst stress I had ever encountered. I fell deeply back into "needing to know." Recoverying from it took time, patience and just sitting with "not knowing." As my life has continued, extreme life-changing stresses have kicked me back into my habit from time to time. Every time it has, it is accompanied by my struggling to escape my "cocoon" and fly free and just "be" with my life.

My goal is to not fall back into that old habit. I'd like to say it will never happen again. But I just "don't know."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First Things First

So, here's the bottom line. I'm turning 60 in December and I want to celebrate by doing something profoundly life changing. I'm struggling trying to determine what this event will be, but my intuition tells me the journey from deciding what to do and finally doing it is what will cause the profound life change.

Like so many children, I frequently had dreams that I could fly. It was the most amazing feeling. Upon waking, in my child's mind, I believed I could fly and would grab a small blanket, tie it around my neck and run up and down the sidewalk in front of my great-grandmother's house. No amount of logic would have convinced me I wasn't flying. In a child's imagination, I had powers others didn't and could defy gravity. The flying wasn't jet like, but more like floating, swooping, and gliding. I was one of them--one of the butterflies I watched so intently in my great-grandmother's backyard.

On my 60th birthday, somehow, I would like to rediscover the feeling of flight.

An unwritten goal is only a dream. Make your goals a reality by defining them, writing them down, and committing not just to accomplishing the goal, but committing to finding in yourself that thing that will make you stand by your committment even when things get tough.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Metamorphosis Begins

For those who know me, this is not new information. I am a private-practice psychotherapist in Austin, Texas. I see individuals for a wide range of issues. I also see couples. I do pre-engagement, pre-marital, marital and post-divorce counseling. My area of specialization is issues of infidelity and affairs. The name of my practice is Mariposa Psychotherapy Services. I've been doing counseling and/or psychotherapy since 1986. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT). This means I can do counseling/psychotherapy with anyone for any issue.

The name of my practice is Mariposa because it is Spanish for butterfly. I picked that name because butterflies symbolize change, transformation, and metamorphosis. My goal in doing counseling and psychotherapy with clients is to help them make their desired changes and transform into the best version of themselves and have the most fulfilling and happy life possible.

I also named the practice Mariposa because I have a fascination with butterflies and have had it since I was child watching them live and work in the hollow of a tree in my great-grandmother's back yard.

And because I have this fascination and my practice is named Mariposa, my office is filled with butterfly pictures, specimens, ornaments, pottery, figurines etc.

About 8 years ago, I had an idea for a book, wrote it and then decided I wanted to turn it into a movie script. The premise was based on my experience as a therapist. Though the goal of a therapist is to help their clients change, the process of trying to achieve this goal changes the therapist. I named the book and script, "The Secret Life of a Butterfly." What happened with the book and script could fill many blog entries. Basically the book and script are just sitting, waiting for me to take yet another step to get them into the right hands to be published or made into a movie.

On the issue of change, today I have three offerings from the Dalai Lama
1. "I believe that satisfaction, joy and happiness are the ultimate purposes of life. And the basic sources of happiness are a good heart, compassion and love."
2. "A compassionate state of mind brings inner peace, and therefore a healthier body."
3. "If you harbour ill will, it has a negative impact on yourself. You may lose your appetite and good sleep."

These are encouraging words as I embark on my 2008 goals. I hope they help you too.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Metamorphosis in 2008

This time of year all around the world people are deciding on new goals for the coming year. For me this year has a special significance. In December I turn 60 years old. And as I face that fact, I am struggling with the changes I would like to make in my life. My hopes are that the struggle, like the butterfly struggling to escape the coccon, will make me strong enough to wing my way into my senior years.

Hence, the name of the blog.