Archive: Balance

Who are you?

Who are you

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.  Dolly Parton said this.

It got me thinking about digging deeper into what it means to know thyself.  She not only says to do it, but to intentionally do it!

When we’re little, before we get hurt from one thing or another in life, we do know who we are, but not consciously.  Then, as we learn to defend ourselves from the bumps in our lives, we might begin to lose touch with that knowing, opting instead to focus on not getting hurt.

It took me a long time to get reacquainted with myself.  I call it body knowing, and believe it’s the only way I can trust myself.

I’m thinking that that’s what it means to find out who I am, and do it on purpose.

What do you think?

 

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If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletter. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

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Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Honesty. The Best Medicine

I was listening to a friend tell me her story about losing something on the subway: she’d been tired after a long day and was on the train during rush hour.  It was jam packed … she was lucky to get a seat.  When she got that seat, she put her backpack on the ground between her feet, her groceries on top of her backpack, thinking they’d both be safe, and started looking through her saved messages.

When it came time to get off, she had to grab everything and push her way through the crowd before the doors closed.  It wasn’t till she got home that she realized her groceries weren’t with her.

What happened to them? How did she manage to pick up her backpack and not her groceries? Did someone take them or were they knocked off in the race to the door?

My friend was upset and relieved it wasn’t her backpack. She felt like a fool, realizing she’d taken a chance by not paying attention to her surroundings, and not being ready when the train was approaching her stop.  She was soundly berating herself by the time we talked.

As it turns out, I was a good one for her to call, because I understood everything she said. I understood the exhaustion, the need to disappear into my messages or a book, the sense of shock and imbalance over missing something that should be with me, and then the self-punishment. I even understood her suspicion that someone took the bag, even though there was nothing that expensive in it.

I felt what she felt.

This isn’t always true. Have you ever found yourself comforting a friend over a loss you’ve never had? It’s awkward; you don’t really know what to say, so you end up saying something you know is stupid, like “It’s alright, I understand”.

Well, you don’t really understand, and you know it. But you could imagine what it would be like to have something like that happen to you. You can feel that event, even though it’s imaginary.  We all can – that’s why we love stories and novels and movies about people who have adventures we’ve never had.

I was wondering how I would have responded to my friend if I hadn’t been through her own story, and realized I didn’t have to be. I simply had to be open to imagining it, and letting her know that’s what I was doing.

Honesty. The best medicine.

Understanding is a power to shape the world – Larry Rosen

Quote of the Week
General benevolence, but not general friendship, make a man what he ought to be.
― Jane Austen, Emma

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programsor contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Beauty

beauty

What’s beautiful to you? A garden in bloom? A well lived-in home? A natural rock formation? A bear sitting mesmerized by a field of butterflies? The Milky Way? The warmth in a friend’s smile? A moment out of time when you connect with a stranger?

How about a well-running clock? Or a piece of art that leaves you standing in awe?

All of these things have one thing in common: They obey natural law, by either being natural, or following the dictates of Nature. They depend, for their beauty, on nature.

The ancient philosophies – including Hinduism, Buddhism, and the oldest of all – Shamanism – view everything that’s natural as beautiful. That includes us – we’re part of nature, and are therefore beautiful.

Joseph Conrad, in a series of interviews now being aired on Netflix, talks about beauty – and Nature – in this way. His passion for this view is evident and compelling, and I urge you to watch the series.

Through my years of maturing, I’ve spent countless hours trimming down, because I felt that being a particular weight would make me beautiful. As I got older, it got more and more difficult to keep that extra weight off, because mine is a body that is naturally on the heavy side.

Then one day, I woke up to what I was doing – making myself unattractive, not attractive! I was doing this – starving, eating not what my body needed but what I decided it needed, not for the sake of beauty, but for the sake of other people’s good opinion of me. It simply became so clear: like a solid wall of storm clouds parting and letting in the sun, that if I was doing this to please others who didn’t care that I was acting against my nature, then what the heck was I doing! Why were those people so important?

I’d like to say I stopped.  What I have done is become more thoughtful and caring about my physical and emotional well-being.  I am learning to accept the beauty of who I am, naturally. One step at a time.

 

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

What I really know

really know

I was at my partner’s place last week. He was talking about what it would take to start a new business – he’s never had to do that, so it seemed like a black hole to him.  I knew exactly what he needed to do: the steps, the order … it was so clear, and I knew that if he followed these steps in that order, he’d be fine.

I didn’t know I knew so much because I can’t look at my own business the same way. I get stuck on things that seems so clear when I apply it to others. I don’t know what I was more dumbstruck from: that I knew so much, or that I didn’t know I knew so much.

After taking a few days to get used to this new discovery, I wondered why that happens and how I could use it to get unstuck.

That we can’t easily be impartial and objective toward our own passions isn’t something new.  But the thing is – I’m not impartial to what matters to my partner. I care deeply and want to help. It’s just that speaking for another person brings with it a responsibility for me to give my best. Is it that I don’t treat my own needs with that same sense?

Really, it’s more than that: when I give advice, I know it’s value because I know the expected outcome.  But when I try different approaches to running my own business, I don’t know the outcome. It’s this uncertainty that stops me. And scares me so much that I get stuck.

I tell myself that my situation isn’t exactly like his; that it’s unique; and that it therefore doesn’t follow the same principles.  Well, no situation anywhere is exactly like any other situation, and yet the vast majority of them do follow the same principles…

What I really know is this: I’m passionate about my business; and this means I’m afraid of doing something that will hurt my business. So I dither. But deep down, I also know that if I follow the same steps I gave my partner, in that order, I’ll be fine.

Just like him.

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Turning poison into medicine – honoring the reality of the moment

I create a kind of vision board for myself every year. On it is what I want to happen that year, and how it will happen according to my heart’s desires and my spiritual guides. This year, all of my focus in on creating a successful business doing what I love.  It’s a long-term goal, and I’ve been working at it for a while. That’s the vision that keeps me going daily. How I do it is different – it’s what I need to focus on daily to make that dream manifest.

And this year, that “how” is to focus on and attend to whatever is happening right now.

Herbie Hancock has a great example of this. It’s below, and is a story about how Miles Davis dealt with whatever happened to happen.

One time when he was new to Davis’ band, he made what he saw as a big mistake on the piano. Miles dealt with it by altering the key while playing, so that that “big mistake” became an opportunity for playing something fresh.

It wasn’t until years later that Herbie understood what happened: Miles hadn’t heard a “mistake”; what he heard was an event that he chose to work with. That’s all.

Herbie saw it as Miles’ ability to turn poison into medicine. By accepting what was happening as simply what was happening, Miles was able to work with it; being open to what the event had to offer. It was his own way of being in Beginners’ Mind.

For me, that wonderful story of Herbie’s taught me that there are at least 2 ways of looking at anything that happens: either as a problem or an opportunity. To see it as an opportunity, I first need to be open to that.

No judgment. Simply fresh eyes and an open heart, honoring the reality of the moment.

Herbie Hancock on Miles Davis

Quote of the Week
I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear. ― Oprah Winfrey

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Passionately Curious

Passionately Curious

I get scared every time I hear someone advise me not to throw all my cards into one basket. Not to go for broke. To slow down in committing to living the rest of my life based on what moves me; no longer spending even a second on anything that doesn’t.

My partner – one of my advisors – isn’t like me. Nor are many of the experienced advisors out there that I hear.

I respect these people; admire them. At the same time, I don’t agree that everyone needs to be as cautious as they advise.  It works for them. My partner, for instance, is a methodical guy and simply couldn’t live the way I do (He witnesses it, as I witness the way he lives; and we’ve come to an agreement we can both live with).

All of us started out with curiosity and passion. We come with it; it’s part of our nature. As Elizabeth Gilbert points out in an interview she gave on Curiosity and Fear, [link to/ ], even try to imagine a 3 year old not experimenting with a set of crayons that are put in front of him or her.  That’s curiosity!

But then what keeps that toddler playing with the crayons isn’t simply curiosity, but passion. He or she likes it! It’s fun and exciting. If it wasn’t, they’d move on to something that interested them more.

For us grown-ups, passion isn’t always exciting.  At first it is, when we dream up something new, then plan how to actualize it.  But then in the doing of it, life happens; something doesn’t work and needs tweaking. It’s frustrating, sometimes simply boring.

This is when remaining curious is so important. Curious about what happens if I try this instead of that. When what moves us – what we’re passionate about – is less than exciting, it’s our curiosity that helps me keep the faith.

I’m passionate about what I do. I love it, even if a lot of the time it feels like work. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But that’s me. That’s what keeps me going. What about you?

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

Know thy enemy and then, know thyself

I finally watched the Borgia series on Netflix.

One of the main characters is Cesare Borgia, eldest son of the future Pope Alexander VI and Vannozza dei Cattanei. The entire family has often been vilified. Some say this was simply part of the times – they weren’t the only family of power like this.

There are many things written about the Borgia family, and about Cesare in particular. Machiavelli based his book The Prince on him. He was seen by Machiavelli and others as a military genius.

Maybe so, but in the process, he used his position and connections to destroy other people’s lives. Lots of other people. It may have been part of the times, but that doesn’t justify his destructiveness and lack of human consideration. And, to be fair, it’s also said that his family also supported minorities who would otherwise have been wiped out.

So, it’s ironic that the writer and creator of this series, Tom Fontana, gave Cesare the lines from Sun Tsu, immortal writer of The Art Of War, that reveal the secret to winning any battle against our enemies, be they external or internal.

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

So eloquently said. So easy to see. And sometimes, so hard to practice.. Especially if that enemy is within.

I have a belief that it’s only when we conquer our inner enemies that we can truly be master of our own lives. Imagine the following:

3 people. All three grew up experiencing exactly the same things (I know, highly unlikely, but I ask that you suspend your judgment in the service of considering the point I’m exploring with you).

They – all 3 at the same time and in the same place – witness an injustice against a stranger that reminds them of something that happened in their own lives. Let’s say that they witness a young child being bullied.

The first person is horrified and becomes consumed with rage, ready to wade in and pulverize the bully, knowing that it will actually make him or her feel worse after they calm down and regain some control. The second is terrified and wants only to run and hide until it’s all over, knowing they’ll feel mortified with what they see as their own moral cowardice afterwards. The third might feel repulsion and rage, but is able to consider in a split second how best to respond in order to support the child, and help the person bullying to come to terms with the situation in a better way.

Both the 1st and the 2nd person aren’t able to effectively intervene because they are blinded by their own inner war. The third has come to know herself and has – at the very least – won that particular battle.  She knows this enemy because she knows herself.

Which would you rather be?

The Nobody Sandwich – Chris Paracox

Quote of the Week
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
― C.G. Jung

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

You deserve to show off!

deserve

This blog is dedicated to all of you who have had to grapple with shame.  I’m one of you and – if you listen to On Being’s interview with Maria Shriver  – she’s one too.

Most of us began our journey with shame as a result of having differences with our parents. Our parents never meant to hurt us – they were worried we’d get hurt by life if we continued to do whatever it was we did to get shamed by them. And it likely began really early, with potty training. Then with how to behave as a child in front of adults.  Then how to be altruistic to the kid who wants your favorite toy.

The adult instruction to any resistance from you might have sounded something like: “Shame on you! Look at how you hurt that boy!” or “Shame on you! Look at the mess you made!”

You end up feeling denied. Constantly. And grow up with a trigger point of rebelling against others telling you what to do, resenting being treated that way, and deep down, feeling the shame of having done “something” wrong. You’re never sure of what you did, so you simply assume responsibility for everything – it’s so much easier than trying to figure it out.

Besides developing that trigger point, this sense of shame makes you feel that you aren’t ever enough. It digs into your sense of self-worth, even if you never show it, and you begin to hide who you really are – for fear of being “found out” – of being unmasked as someone who isn’t enough.

As an adult, all of this might be unconscious – so ingrained its simply part of the way you operate.  And yet, that shame is excruciating.

There are probably many ways out of this dilemma, but I know of only one way: to stop taking on all the responsibility that isn’t really yours, and to decide to show up and be who you are.

Maria speaks at many functions, and lets people know that she shows up for herself, that she has her “I” on. In her own words, she explains: “I say that to people so they don’t despair, that sometimes it takes a really long time to feel like you deserve to be on the stage; you deserve to be in the room; you have earned your “I.””

Right on, Maria!  And right on to you!

You deserve to show off who you are. No apologies.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters read you are enough just as you are get my latest one. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

From Frustrated to Wow!

When I get an idea I love, getting started is easy, but finishing sometimes seems impossible.

I want to write a book about scapegoating. I really want to do this, and have a lot of enthusiasm around it. I began this project 2 years ago: did a lot of research and thinking, interviewing and writing. And then got overwhelmed with possibilities that began to form some months in.  After a while, I felt more frustrated than enthused, and eventually decided to give my brain a break and let it go for a while.

If you’ve gone through this kind of scenario, you might end up feeling frustrated – like me – starting to lose confidence in yourself and in the validity of your project.

In anything we endeavour, there are a number of steps we take in the process.  This isn’t arbitrary, it’s natural, and happens with everything.  In the shamanic tradition I work with, it’s called the Zero to 9 law. In Martha Beck’s paradigm, it’s called the change cycle, and there are 4 stages.  No matter what it’s called, it’s natural, necessary and unavoidable. Using Martha’s model, we end something that no longer works for us, grieving it and letting it go; that opens us to dreaming in something new, planning how we want that to happen. Those are the first 2 stages. Stage 3 is about manifesting that dream. Martha calls stage 3 the Hero’s Saga, because this is the stage where we test things out in real life, encountering problems and issues we couldn’t have imagined.

Logically, this only makes sense. Emotionally, it can be painful. It’s the hard part and needs us to keep the faith and finish instead of quit.

This stage is on my mind a lot right now because I’m going through it. For instance, I’m working at getting a designation I have wanted for a number of years, and I’m nearly there.  Then a few months ago, something happened I wasn’t prepared for and there was some fallout. My “normal” way of dealing with this would be to take the blame for everything and then try to “fix” what I actually couldn’t, leading ultimately to frustration and pain.

This time, I did something different: I looked at how I contributed and addressed that, also acknowledging those parts that worked well. And as a result, while I had moments of frustration and pain, I ended up feeling like I’d grown from the experience. I was grateful it had happened! I went from feeling frustrated to feeling Wow!

My challenge to you is this: the next time you feel frustrated about something you’ve been working on, take a short break, and see what you can do that will turn it from a painful experience that sends you into self-doubt, into a worthwhile one that truly adds to your knowing and sense of self-worth.

Now, let’s finish that book!

On Change and Healing – Martha Beck

Quote of the Week
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward. – Kurt Vonnegut

Announcements
At times we need more  – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us.  I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages.  For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at maryanne@thejoyofliving.co . Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist and Life Coach.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .

 

On Pace and Power

power

 

I’m a go-getter and that worries my friends, because it seems that I never stop.  When they’ve been with me for a day, they often – with good intent – suggest I slow down.

Sometimes, they’re right on. When I’m worried that I’ll miss a deadline (usually self-imposed), or obsessed about getting something right (driven by fear of failure or rejection).

Sometimes, they’re mistaken. When I’m creating or doing something I love, for instance.

Sometimes it’s both – when I’m venturing into new territory. At those times, I’m both energized and terrified – mostly terrified of how my life will change if I succeed.

Does this sound familiar?

Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

That’s true for me. What I’ve learned is to pace myself.

When I pace myself, I can …

  • catch moments of terror and take the time I need to deal with them before moving forward;
  • discover how I really feel about what I’m doing, and make change that make better use of my time and energy;
  • learn as I go with awareness and presence.

When I pace myself, I feel powerful, and feel like I’m gaining more and more energy as I go.

When I pace myself, I am the author of my own life.

 

If you like this blog, you’ll love my newsletters “You are Enough Just as You Are” for a sample. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up for my insider newsletter, click here.  If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .