Archive: Newsletter

The Art of Intimacy

So often, I’m struck by a painting or poem that brings up a felt sense of some aspect of life that is deeply meaningful to me.

Rumi, when he speaks of two kinds of intelligence, speaks in my language, as if he were a contemporary instead of someone who lived several centuries ago. The Chess Players by Retzch, reminds me of times in my own life when I “innocently” made a deal with the devil. The friendship that develops between the female characters in Midsummer Night’s Dream turns what might otherwise be sordid and hopeless into light hearted and hopeful.

How often has that happened in your life? Where that intimate connection, of caring or consideration from a friend or stranger, turned pain into pleasure. Something to cherish and remember.

I know that when I’m feeling especially sad, or fearful, or anxious, I look for something in the world of art to remind me that someone else understands what I’m feeling, and that they turned this despair, or fear or sadness into something beautiful.

As a plug for a friend, a particularly intimate version of Midsummer Night’s Dream is playing in Toronto this month in Toronto.

Yuki

Quote of the Week
I have a very, very good relationship with 10 percent of the audience. The only purpose of art is intimacy. That is the only point. -David Hare

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

How to Negotiate the Peaks and Valleys of Life

Have you ever had a big setback?  If not, you will, because we all do if we’re living.  At the time, it’s painful, and it might feel devastating.  Then, a week, a month or a year later, life turns upside down; you finish a project, or win a game, or gain something you’ve been working towards. You experience that moment of being on top of the world. And it’s intoxicating!

Spencer Johnson calls these moments Peaks and Valleys, and wrote a book of that name.  Every major philosopher and spiritual leader spends most of their time guiding others through these peaks and valleys of life. Because we all have them. In fact, they’re unavoidable.

To understand this, think for a moment of the straight line. It’s what you see when a person’s heart stops.  What it represents is death. Not life. Life is change. And change is a natural process – a natural wave. Every wave movement has a peak and a valley.

This isn’t simply a metaphor. Because when you reduce anything to it’s basic form, what it is, is a form of energy. That includes us – we are, basically, energy. And whatever we do is energy. And as such, there will be high and low energy, wins and losses, trials and triumphs.

It helps me to remember this, and to also remember that we, as humans, need to try out things – sometimes several times – before we succeed in getting what we want. When I think of valleys like this, then I can see them as fertile ground – places where I have a chance to discover something new out of the ashes of something else that crashed and burned.

We rarely seek help when we’re on a peak, so here’s some tips from the world of experts for next time you find yourself in a valley.

  • Take a moment. The first thing I’m tempted to do when I have a setback is immediately move towards trying to “fix” it.  But, whenever I do this, I miss out. I miss out on feeling and acknowledging the pain of the loss, and then truly letting it go.  That means it lingers. Even though I feel like I’m making progress and not letting this setback get in my way, it actually is, because I’m dragging along the unfinished business of grieving the loss.
  • Adjust my attitude. About setbacks. If they’re natural and to be expected, that means they are actually a part of the eventual triumph. If what I strive for – what gives meaning to my life – were easy, then it wouldn’t be worth much. And the more it’s worth to me, the bigger the challenge – and the bigger the chance of experiencing a setback.  So, the real choice is: either play it safe and never challenge yourself, or take a risk and experience failure.
  • Don’t give up. It’s like learning to ride a bike. I remember learning to ride a bike. It was my great-aunt’s bike; I was around 12, and my cousin Beverley volunteered to teach me. You probably know the drill. I’d get going, then wobble and fall. Then with her insistence, I’d get back on, eventually wobble and fall. Finally, she said she’d keep her hand on the seat so I wouldn’t fall. She did, for a few seconds, then I was on my own. Soaring!

Anything worthwhile – learning a new skill, gaining recognition in your field, building a meaningful relationship – takes time, patience, tenacity, and the wisdom of hanging in there until the magic happens.

Elizabeth Gilbert  another way of receiving success and failure

Quote of the Week
Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.
-Amos Bronson Alcott

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 .

Hope is the place where joy meets struggle

This beautiful heading is a quote from Parker Palmer. When I let myself feel the impact it has on me, my heart feels lighter, and I experience a sense of hopefulness.

Let me explain. A dear friend (I’ll call her Wendy) has been struggling with a big decision – whether to move and begin again, or stay and face some old blocks that simply won’t budge.  There are big plusses and minuses either way:  If she moves, she’ll be starting all over again in an unknown area; if she stays she might end up moving or even dissolving those blocks, but miss out on other wonderful opportunities.  She’s really torn by it, especially on days when everything just isn’t working. Wrestling with this dilemma is frustrating, depressing, sometimes overwhelming.

But through all this, Wendy is hopeful she’ll work it out.  She hasn’t lost sight of why she’s in this dilemma, and what makes it all worthwhile for her. She sees it as a worthy challenge, because the only reason it’s important is because she loves what she does. It’s important to her, even in the current overwhelming situation.

Like the old cliché says, “Anything worth having is worth fighting for”.  Wendy knows this struggle is worth it, because her life and happiness is worth fighting for.

It’s not a done deal. There are risks – that’s why she’s struggling right now.  Wendy is stepping into unknown territory. Any time we step into a new and unfamiliar place, what carries us through is hope.
For Parker Palmer, hope keeps him alive and creatively engaged. For me, it keeps me moving forward, even when moving forward is painfully hard to do. It keeps Wendy in the struggle.

The one thing that Wendy was afraid of – and why she talked to me about it – was that she worried that she was fooling herself. That she was in some way not seeing the reality of the situation. She needed to talk to people she trusted to clear up any confusion and strengthen her determination, one way or the other.  Wendy said she chose who to share her dilemma with for 2 reasons: the person was honest, and the person was benevolent.

Wendy wanted the truth from her friends, not soothing platitudes. And she wanted to be with people who cared about her.

I can’t think of a better, more supportive way to make big decisions.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Morley – Women of Hope

struggle

 

Quote of the Week
When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

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

 

Success: Persistence, Patience and the ability to withstand rejection

For anyone who has a dream – their own business, independence and financial freedom, becoming a successful artist – or healer – or dancer – or computer programmer – or accountant.  Whatever your dream, whatever you go after with passion, is the thing that you uniquely create.  It’s your baby, and it’s something that’s not only valuable and worthwhile to you, but to the rest of us as well. Each one of us has a special gift.

And yet, as any creator will know after a short while, once you offer it to the world and test it out in the real world, no matter how valuable it is, your beautiful creation won’t be automatically seen for what it truly is.  It won’t be appreciated and embraced. It might not even be noticed for a long time.  The biggest effort any creator will ever have to make is in how to successfully connect with others so that they see what you see, and value it as you do.

Yes, a tiny percentage of us are lucky. The vast majority of us, though, must persist.
Dani Shapiro discussed this in a recent interview. She emphasized that our special gift (she was referring to writing, but it can be for any gift) is useless if you don’t have the muscles of persistence, patience, and the ability to withstand the indignities and rejection inherent in the life of any creator. Gifts are nothing without endurability.

With every seeming or real rejection, you need to silence that little voice that says you’re deluding yourself, that you really aren’t any good. As long as you’ve done your homework and developed your skills, take comfort in the fact that the rest is simply a part of the process of creating. So, get on with it. There may be a hidden gem in what you get back that you can use; otherwise, accept that not everyone will like or understand what you are offering, and move on.

There are at least 3 things you can do to persist through rejection:

  • Compartmentalize: do the necessary everyday things that need your full attention, then start over and be available again, fully, for what’s important. If you’re into ritual, as I am, then get that coffee and space ready before beginning so that you set yourself up for success.
  • Connect: with those who can help you, or mentor you. Fellow travellers who understand what you’re feeling and know as well as you do that you have something worthwhile to offer.
  • Congratulate: Celebrate your daily success, no matter how big or small. I take a few minutes every day to write my “wins” for the day.  Every win teaches me to refocus on delight.

The quote below is from a man who knew rejection and persisted, sometimes for years.  His message to the rest of us is that we aren’t alone, and that it’s worth it.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Helen Clarke – The Power of Persistence

 Quote of the Week
Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. 
― Winston S. Churchill

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

7 Questions for 2018

(Inspired by Courtney Martin)

7 is a magical number – a number of power.  There was a study many years ago called the Magic Number 7 that observed crows, discovering that crows can remember up to 7 things.  It turns out that’s true for us too: we can remember around 7 things – concrete or abstract – at a time. “7” also stands for the 7 generations that influence us, and that we will influence, according to shamanism. What we do and how we do it is partly a result of the 7 generations that came before us – it’s something that we can’t ignore without blinding ourselves to who we are. In shamanism, “7” also stands for the dream and freedom.

With this in mind, I wonder what last year offers you now for this year. And if you could clarify your dream for this year, what would it be? To help you out, I offer you 7 questions.

  1. A moment to remember. If you could choose one moment from 2017, what moment would that be? How can you carry that moment into 2018?
  2. Connections. Who did you connect with in 2017 that changed you. Who do you want to connect with this year?
  3. Lost Opportunities. Who did you wish you connected with last year, but didn’t? What did you learn from that experience that can help you this year?
  4. Battles. What inner battles did you grapple with last year? Which ones did you resolve, and which are your battles for this year?
  5. Wins. What were the greatest personal “wins” you made last year? What are you aiming for this year?
  6. Hope. What gave you hope in 2017 that you can carry inside you as you begin 2018?
  7. Dreams. What one thing, above all else, do you want to focus on for 2018?

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

5 ways to kill your dream

questions

Quote of the Week
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one. John Lennon

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

What does the moment ask of me?

The title comes from the question that Charlotte Selver always asked. Charlotte Selver taught countless students about sensory awareness, and how we have everything we need within ourselves for self support and connection to the world around us. I learned about sensory awareness from her student, Lee Lesser, and I use it constantly.

What does the moment ask of me? … It’s a question that I can only answer if, first of all, I’m aware of everything going on inside of me. How am I inside? Is there any part of me I’m not feeling? Or, is there any part of me that is in need of support, like tired eyes, a stiffness in my neck, a pain in my chest? And if so, what is my body telling me it needs from me, right now? A warm hand supporting my chest or neck or eyes, a moment of rest and shade, a quiet walk … what can I offer, right now, that will support my needs?

Once I’ve taken care of my own needs, then and only then am I ready to see what’s needed in my environment, including what’s needed for others. It’s like what the air attendant tells us to do if that oxygen mask pop’s out in turbulent conditions: take care of ourselves first, and then take care of any dependent.

This year, I invite you to ask this question of yourself, every day.

What does the moment ask of me?

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

The 3 A’s of Awesome – Neil Pasricha

moment

For more on awesome happiness, see my blog Starting this Year with Joy.

Quote of the Week
If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.
― Walt Whitman

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

Thoughts to begin 2018 with

Last year at around this time I sent you some of my favorite quotes.  That was so well-received I thought I’d do it again this year.

Quotes inspire me. Whenever I’m in need of a spiritual or motivational boost, I’ll read through my library of quotes, always finding at least one that inspires me and helps me re-focus on something that lifts me. I hope these help you do the same.

Everybody needs to take some time, in some way, to quiet themselves and really listen to their heart. -Jack Kornfield

Personality … is an act of high courage flung in the face of life. -Carl Jung

The simple intention to rest, consistently applied, turns the valley of the shadow into sweet surrender. -Martha Beck

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -Anne Frank

The more you focus on the words that uplift you, the more you embody the ideas contained in those words. -Oprah

Best wishes to you and yours over the holidays!

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Jacqueline Novogratz – inspiring a life of immersionthoughts

Quote of the Week 

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.

― Jane Goodall

 

Announcements

If you’re interested in knowing more about natural character traits, you might be interested in Discover Your Natural Character [link to https://thejoyofliving.co/events/ ]

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 .

 

The one thing you can do to release yourself from the bind of judgment

I listen to a friend talk about her pain – she said something less than kind to her sister. Her sister reacted and my friend is now going to spend the holidays alone.  She’s naturally distressed and is kicking herself – hard – for saying what she can’t now take back.

Knowing my friend, she’ll be fine, and at the right time will make amends to her sister.  It isn’t something that will linger for her. But until she does that, she might do what most of us do – judge herself harshly and wallow for a while in misery.

When I examine my own way with judgment, I can easily go that route. What I know now is that every time I do that to myself, I also do it to others.  It binds me to a very narrow way of viewing life. For instance, let’s say I sprain my ankle because I went out for a walk at night in shoes that weren’t good in snow.  While I’m lying in pain on the sidewalk, I might self-talk like this: “What an idiot thing to do! You knew better and really! In a way, I deserve this!”

Imagine what I’ll think when I hear of someone doing something similar.

On the other hand, I could have said to myself: “Well, that could have been foreseen! Better take care getting home and nurse my ankle.”

How might my judgment of the next person doing something similar have changed?

Be kind to yourself.  Not blindly self-indulgent, but compassionate towards yourself and others over the foibles you walk into.

Best wishes to you and yours over the holidays!

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Byron Katie on Judgment

Quote of the Week

Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?
― Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

 

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

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

“My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— It gives a lovely light!”

That quote, from Edna St. Vincent Millay, eloquently sums up the allure of going all out till we drop. It’s addictive. It gives us such an intoxicating high. And yet, if we don’t stop, it will burn us out long before we want it to.How often in your day have you found yourself running on fumes?  Going till you drop, and then going some more. I did this all the time till I couldn’t any longer; and then I had to find a different way of living that could restore the health I’d ruined and allow me to continue to live with energy and purpose.  I did find it, and I’m offering what I discovered to you in my online program Burning the Candle at Both Ends.

Whether you join me  or chose to connect with another of the many great helpers available, I can say from experience that it’s possible to take back control over your mind, your life and your happiness. It’s possible to live the life you want without burning up or burning out.Learn more about Burning the Candle at Both Ends here.Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

3-minute breathing space

Quote of the Week
Those candle flames were like the lives of men. So fragile. So deadly. Left alone, they lit and warmed. Let run rampant, they would destroy the very things they were meant to illuminate. Embryonic bonfires, each bearing a seed of destruction so potent it could tumble cities and dash kings to their knees.
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

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

The secret to winning in life

I was in front of a group of women my age, about to give them a presentation I’d prepared meticulously. I’d mapped it out, timed it out, and practiced.  I knew it cold. But when I got up in front of them, all I could think of was whether they’d take me seriously.  I had this constant inner talk going on for at least a week before the presentation.  I dressed in a way that I thought would do it – not the way I usually dress; I chose topics I thought would tweak their interest – not topics that tweaked mine.  And the inevitable happened: they, almost to a woman, looked like they were having a hard time staying awake; and left right after, without asking a single question.  I was mortified.

I had to go through that a few more times until I was worn out and discouraged enough to simply give up and be myself, regardless of the result.  After all – how much worse could being myself be? And, yes, the next time I spoke, I spoke on a topic that interested me, in a way that was natural to me, wearing what I liked, in front of a group of people I wanted to be with. That time, the listeners not only took me seriously, but really got what I was saying, using it in their own lives in a way it was always meant to be used.

I listened to a live Q&A with Marie Forleo today that brought that home.  Someone called in and asked her to suggest a baby step they could take that would help them succeed in holding their own authenticity.  I’ve included her remarks, along with my own, as ways of learning to notice what you’re doing and turning it into a win:

  • Discover your mask. When you’re in front of an audience, notice when you’re trying to be someone else. That’s all. Becoming aware of what you’re doing is always the first step to change.  Notice who you’re trying to be – someone in the audience; someone you suppose your audience admires? What exactly are you “trying on”, and why?  This, in the world of shamanism, is called a mask.  Masks can be powerful tools, as long as they’re used honestly without any intent to manipulate.  But when we’re hiding behind a mask, we always have an agenda.
  • Learn who and how you are naturally. It’s amazing but true that most of us have to actually learn this.  We knew it instinctively when we were kids, and have since hidden it in an effort to belong.  The truth is that who we are naturally is our greatest strength.  It’s the one thing that helps us stand out and be noticed.  And being noticed by the people who matter – those people who you want to be with – is the winning ticket.

It sounds simple, and isn’t: my whole work is about helping people discover that about themselves.  But it is the key – the secret – to winning in life.

Be yourself.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Being Authentically Myself at Work – Suzette Robotham

 Quote of the Week
I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.― Muhammad Ali

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