A witness at the scene


March 16, 2016

Martha Germann
Author of Thriving beyond Survival: How to Know What You Really Want and to Have Fun Getting It


The CRUNCH woke me up.

“What was that?”

The clock said 4:50 AM.

As I remembered the sound, I became more convinced it was a car crashing into something. I heard no other sounds.

Was everyone okay? I looked out my window and sure enough there was a car that had run in to the pick-up truck parked across the street. The front of the car was badly damaged, there was glass and plastic on the street, but I couldn’t see any movement.

I went out the front door. 

I tried to see if there was someone unconscious in the car or standing in the street. I couldn’t see anyone and it was still quiet. The street was wet and I was barefoot, so I decided to get some shoes on and get a closer look.

When I went back out I saw a man standing and looking at the wreck with a curious expression.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yeah” he said.

“Is that your car?” I inquired.

“No, that’s my truck”

I could see the dome light on in the car and the driver’s door was open but there was no one else around.

“Where is the driver?” I asked.

The man shrugged, looked over his shoulder and pointed down the street. “Maybe that’s them.” He said.

Trotting down the road were two women, one older and obviously in pajamas with a thrown on pair of shoes. The other was a young woman in what looked like a uniform holding a long key chain that swayed with each step she took.

It was still quiet.

I saw the older lady take a look at the front end of the car and the deployed air bag.

“Oh Denise,” she said with emotion. Then she turned to the younger women looked at her for a moment and wrapped her into a huge hug.

In that moment I realized I was watching a dramatic situation without the drama.

There were no raised voices. The owner of the truck didn’t look angry or upset rather more curious about what had happened than anything. The mother didn’t berate her child on being reckless but instead showed more appreciation for the lack of damage to her daughter than what had happened to the car.

This is everyday people in the real world quietly showing kindness and compassion in destructive circumstances.

I believe there is more of this quietly going on in our neighborhoods and communities than what we see or is reported in the media.

We help it spread when we acknowledge and appreciate these types of events, whether we are a participant or a witness.

About 2016

January 5, 2016

Martha Germann
Founder, Mindful Games Institute LLC


Nothing is possible until someone imagines it and believes it is possible.

Some people, when imagining the coming New Year, especially if they have been listening to the news and pundits, may be imagining a 2016 with more anxiety and worry than ever before. Imagining all the things that they don’t want to have happen but believe will, whether on a global, national or personal level.

When we are imagining a future that we don’t want we are feeling that fear and anxiety right now, even though what we fear has not yet happened. When we hear topics like the climate, the economy or race relations, we prepare ourselves for the worst, keeping ourselves in a constant state of stress.  We are in survival mode where fight or flight seems to be our only option which blinds us from seeing alternative possibilities that are more preferable. As a result, decisions we make are not about moving toward a future we want but away from a future we are afraid of.

And Being afraid of our future is the worst of traps.

You can’t run from a future you are afraid of and fighting it is futile.

How do we get out of the trap?

The key is to spend more time imagining a personal future that you want to live and believe is possible and less time imagining a future you fear.

The hope and excitement of what that experience can be opens the door to creativity, new ideas and many more options to making things better. You are at your best when you are moving toward things you prefer. You tend to enjoy the process as much as the accomplishment. This is living. This is thriving.

Just imagining it makes it more possible.

Most of us are not trained or practiced in imagining a future we want. We have been told to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but the preparation for the worst strengthens our belief that it will happen.  Our belief is often stronger that things will go wrong than that things will go right. This may be the reason why new year’s resolutions don’t last past February. Wanting to get in shape, quit smoking or find a better job has our focus more on what we don’t want, what we believe is wrong with ourselves or life that needs to be fixed.  We get worn out.

Worrying about something has never protected anyone, it has only had their experience be uncomfortable. This focus on believing in the worst is a habit that can be shifted.

Here are some things you can do to get back into practice of looking towards a future that you prefer.

  1. Make a list of what you want your future to be like.
  2. Be mindful of what beliefs you have around what you want by the level of excitement you have for what is on your list.
  3. Focus on the items that you feel the most excited about and start to imagine, just for fun, how things will be in that future. How will it feel, what would you be doing. Do this for at least 5 minutes.
  4. Practice believing it is possible, even if you don’t know how to make it happen.

You have now just spent 5 minutes not worrying or being afraid of your future and instead feeling good about it. Both are valid ways of imagining and nothing is possible until someone imagines it. What do you want to be possible?

After you have experienced being excited about your future, imagine what the world would be like if everyone was excited about their future.

Now, keep imagining it and start believing it is possible.


Missing the Big Event

November 16, 2015

Martha Germann
Founder, Mindful Games Institute LLC


The text message read:

I need to go into the doctor at 9 AM for the cut on my finger, I should be there by 10:30 AM

I cringe. I was sorry that Kelly’s cut finger was bad enough to see the doctor, but that also meant that the ability for me to get to the big event was in question. There were two meetings at work this morning and Kelly was going to take the 10:30 AM meeting so that I could leave and make it to the Angelika Theater in plenty of time for the video screening. It was about a 40 minute drive IF there was no traffic.

I was really looking forward to this event.

Being the drummer for the band “Merry and the Mood Swings” has given me exciting experiences from day one that I would never have imagined I’d be a part of, from playing on a stage as cool as the Granada Theater in Dallas, recording a CD, to being featured on the long running show “The Texas Country Reporter.” This year brought the added fun experience of shooting a music video of the band’s original song “Witch Joanie”.

The whole process of taping the video was enjoyable. Contributing ideas to the storyboard, creating a mask as a prop and the day of shooting with Jon Preston and Dan Hazen were all new things that had me feeling like a rock star.

We were delighted when Jon told us the news that the video was accepted into the 2015 Dallas VideoFest and we would get passes to the screening.

As 10:30 started to get closer, it is the client who walks in and not Kelly. I begin the meeting and it lasts until 11:10. That may still be enough time to get down to the theater and get seated before the video starts. I get to my car and realize I don’t have my keys, delay. Get my keys and in my car and realize I don’t have my phone. Another delay as I go back into the office and look all over but can’t find my phone. I decide to not worry about it. I was running out of time. By 11:30 I am headed down the Highway. For a Saturday morning, the traffic on I-35 is slow. I keep glancing at the clock. I have no way of contacting my band mates to see what was happening, if they had made it, if things were on schedule or delayed. When I see 11:50 AM and determine that I am still about 30 minutes away, not counting the time it would take to park, I know there was no way I was going to make it for a 3 minute video. I turn around.

I missed the event.

I felt the disappointment but I had a choice.

Now, it would have been easy for me to find blame for my disappointment and frustration on missing out. There was Kelly, whose situation being beyond her control could have had me feeling bad about being miffed with her “choice” of days to get hurt. My anger could as easily be directed at myself for having to go back inside several times for things I had forgotten. Many would agree with me that the construction on the highway was a mess and was causing everyone grief. I would have felt regret for missing out on this once in a lifetime experience. (I have never seen myself up on a big movie screen before). This could be just one more item to add to my list of proof that things just don’t seem to go my way and I would not only explain this to my band mates but others that I talked to that day. Not only would my weekend be ruined but I would relive the experience every time someone mentioned the video or the event.

In the past, before I created my mindful game to thrive and not just survive, I would probably have felt exactly how I described without being aware that there even was another choice.

When you are practiced in thriving you are aware that you always have a choice. Sure, I was disappointed, but I had no other negative feelings that day.

Increasing my skills to thrive allowed me to be calm at every step of the day, to look for options when Kelly didn’t make it and when I couldn’t find my phone.  I clearly made my decision to turn back with no regrets. I was free to choose how I wanted to interpret the situation. I saw that, yes, I could have seen it as things just not going my way but instead chose to believe that it was more to my benefit to not be there even if I was not aware of how.

Both interpretations are valid, one just let me enjoy the rest of my weekend and be excited about the event with my band mates who did make it.

I love having the freedom to choose.

Being Our True Selves

August 21, 2014

Martha Germann
Founder, Mindful Games Institute LLC


“Love this video.” is the message my sister sends me with a link attached.

Trusting that it will be either moving or entertaining, I click the link and listen to Michael Sam accepting the Arthur Ashe Award at the ESPYs.  It’s a moving authentic speech.  He talks about his experience of being the first openly gay player in the NFL and  the support and love he felt from the people in his life.

There is a phrase he makes at the end that really catches my attention:

“Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself.”

If it takes courage to be who we are, then who are most of us being and why?

Have we been trained that to succeed we need to go against what feels natural and right and instead be what we have been told is required?  This is so exhausting.  And who is doing this to us? More