Monthly Archive: June 2014

Optimism

optimism

Woke up yesterday morning, feeling hard done by after an unusually lousy sleepless night in anticipation of a meeting I wasn’t looking forward to very early that morning.  Andy, my partner, attempted to add lightness to our conversation later that day, only to meet with snarling.  Today I woke ready to challenge anyone who got in my way and, lo and behold, people got in my way!

And then the spiral began – the downward spiral, like feeding fuel to a fire. Not only is my day lousy but the world isn’t doing well either; there’s global warming very close to out of control, growing canyons between the rich and poor, hunger, injustice. And the guy down the street keeps taking my parking spot.

This is pessimism and makes me feel grouchy.

On the other hand, when I’m feeling optimistic I feel contented, joyful, positive. Optimism improves my immune system and prevents chronic disease. Gratitude leads to optimism – it is the doorway into that place of hopefulness. Grateful people are happier, more social, less stressed, and also less depressed.

As it happened, in the middle of a minor rant today, I overheard a guy enthusiastically and joyfully speak about how great he was feeling about the world right now, about how many opportunities he felt we all have. It really stopped me, and I laughed out loud.

Whew! Glad that personal dark cloud blew out!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

A Vision of Success

Hey Marie! I want some of that!

I get Marie Forleo’s blog each week, and was struck by her last one on how to stay successful once you’re where you want to be. It struck me because so many of us aren’t there yet in our own minds and pocketbooks. This, for us, is definitely something we want to have to worry about!

So what’s the deal? I feel kind of left out. I can, however, visualize where I want to be, in colour and great detail. I can imagine that I am dreamingdoing well, no financial worries, contributing meaningfully to my community. I’m healthy, wealthy and happy. What would that look like – really look like, in every detail.

Can you took a moment. Close your eyes, breathe deeply into your belly, and dream – about your life as a success, where you are living and doing what you dream of doing, as if it were happening right this moment. Dream in detail – every thought and vision, down to the last microscopic glimpse. Would you be at your home, in an office, outside, travelling? How would you get to work? What would you be doing before and after work? Where would you be living? What do your surroundings look like, smell like, feel like? Are there any rituals or practices you could and would participate in – daily, weekly? What do you see yourself wearing, eating? Every detail.

And then for now, don’t worry about what Marie says this week. Save it for later when you need it.

As Goethe said “… indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute; What you can do, or dream you
can do, begin it; Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
First, we dream it.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Resistance!

creativity and resistanceThis is about a book I’ve been reading called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. The “war” he refers to is about the resistance any artist or creative person – you and I – feels so often, and how we deal with it. He sees it as a war, and he talks briefly about this near the end of the book, but really, it doesn’t matter. I think we can all relate to the “war” aspect of our battle with resistance.

Even as I write, I can feel it’s tendrils wrapping around me; it’s siren call directing me to anything but what I need to do right now. In fact, I love writing; yet here I am dreaming about what I’ll have for dinner, longing for a nap, or a walk in the park, or a coffee with a friend, or washing the floors… . It’s got a lot to do with fear – of drying up, of disappointing myself, of disappointing you. And this fear is something I’d rather not feel or even acknowledge. So I divert my attention to something – anything – else.

How to deal with resistance is a topic taken up and wrestled with by many notable people for eons. It’s too bad we couldn’t develop a gene for it – an internal “pill” that our ancestors gifted us so that we could live and breathe resistance-free. It doesn’t work that way – that way is the way of the addict. Resistance is actually useful – it tells me that what I’m doing is important to me, and worthwhile. Otherwise I wouldn’t have this investment in it’s success.

Pressfield suggests a number of things we can do to counter resistance. I’ve boiled them down to three steps.

  1. Learn to sense it. Know what it feels like physically within you, so that you are aware of it’s presence. Learn how you typically resist. Pressfield provides many examples. Some of the things I notice in myself are: a gut uneasiness, a growing distraction for things that don’t normally interest me, an “urgency” to get some little thing out of the way.

 

  1. Develop a respect for your resistance. Because it is telling you that what you are doing is important. Respect that. Then look at what it is you want to accomplish, and how you are going about it. Perhaps there is some better way to make it happen, or perhaps you simply need to start. I like to begin each day with a short meditation. It helps me not only clear my mind, but identify what is in my mind at the time. It helps me know my priorities and ground myself for the day.

 

  1. Develop a habit of professionalism. Pressfield distinguishes between a pro and an amateur. Become a pro in your own life. As he says: an amateur pursues his passion as a sideline; the professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. This means, to me, going to my desk, my office, every day, and working a full 8 hours on what I love. It means doing a good job at it, then setting it aside once done and going home.

This is a recipe for living the life you love. It isn’t easy, but it is very worthwhile. What gets in your way? How do you deal with your own resistance?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

 

 

Everything will be All Right

Everything will be all right in the end. …if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end. (Sonny, from the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold

Hotel”)

I need to pin this onto my fridge. Simply reading it makes me feel good and hopeful. No matter how awful – or good – the day is, knowing it will pass and something better will eventually emerge gives me a wonderful feeling.

This morning I went for my usual walk in a park nearby, and decided to walk it in the opposite direction. The birds who frequent this park in

Calvin on Existence

Calvin on Existence

Spring are mostly Canada Geese. For whatever reason – whether the geese are used to encountering people coming from the other direction, or the direction of the wind, or time of day, or simply luck – I was able to observe many of them before they noticed me. I felt as though I were passing through a three dimensional movie, with myself as the observer set outside of and apart from the action. Watching them in this way, for a very short while, I felt a kind of world wellness – that everything is all right.

It’s naïve to think that everything will be all right in the end. Sometimes, for some of us, it isn’t. In one way, however, it is true – bringing the power of these moments into any other moment we are experiencing. Using my walk this morning, all I need to do is bring the experience of

this morning into the present to elevate my day.

Much has been written, spoken, and sung about this. All of the great religions of the world teach this. And for a brief moment this morning, I

felt it.

What moment in your life left you feeling a sense of world wellness? Is there something those moments taught you that you might share?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.