Tag Archive: life

What to do when your plans go south

Imagine this: you plan for an event – say a workshop. You gather all the materials, secure the venue, the help and all needed resources. You practice and refine what you need to have in place.  Everyone’s committed. Sitters secured. Food ordered.

 

Everything is set. Then 24 hours before you all show up at the location, the location owner backs out.Now what? Well, whatever happens, guaranteed the result won’t be what you planned.  Those plans went south with the late venue cancellation.

 

You’ve probably experienced this first-hand.  Along with the gut-sinking disappointment and extreme need to gnash teeth and cry on a trusted friend’s shoulder.What now? Have you noticed that afterwards, looking back, it never seems as catastrophic as it did when it first happened? Life went on. All that planning and preparing that seems totally wasted in the moment ends up being put to good use in a different way. No one gets harmed beyond a minor inconvenience, and may even benefit from the change.  In fact, you might be the only one who notices.

 

And sometimes, better things happened because of how you responded to the unwanted change. To help you focus on the better possibilities of last-minute changes, here are 3 things to keep in mind for next time:

 

  1. Always expect the unexpected.  Any professional worth their salt does this; it’s what separates them from the newly trained arrival.  Anyone with training can deal with the every-day. Only a seasoned professional can deal with the unexpected last-minute surprise.
  2.  

  3. Gain perspective. Most last-minute changes aren’t really earth-shattering. Even if they are, if you’ve done what you could to prepare, in the best way you could, then that’s the only thing that is truly under your control. The rest isn’t. Gaining this perspective helps to minimize pain and re-energize you for what you can do next.
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  5. Look for the opportunity. Inside every change is a new opportunity. It might be a new learning, or a new way of doing what you were offering. Adding value and new interest. Sometimes, last-minute change highlights something that we hadn’t seen before that’s always been unnecessary. I had an aunt – fantastic cook – who always cut off the ends of a ham before baking it. Assuming this did something to enhance the flavor, I finally asked her why she did it. She thought about it and admitted she did it because he mother had.  As it happened, her Mom was there, and when asked, said it was because she only had one baking dish, and the hams were generally too big for it. So she cut them down at each end.

Life can be filled with adventure, if we let it. And adventure is always about venturing into unknown territory and learning from it. Seeing unwanted surprises as a kind of adventure can help to minimize the disappointment and get us going again soon after.

Saved by last-minute changes

Quote of the Week
Life is full of screwups. You’re supposed to fail sometimes. It’s a required part of the human existance. ― Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

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 .

 

 

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

 

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 .

 

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

Moments of Peace and Joy

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.

-Albert Camus

There are so many inspirational quotes like this one (there’s more below) that have the power to give us a lift just by reading them.  Each time, for instance, I read Camus’ quote, I feel my heart sigh – a spiritual pat on my back saying Good job! You can rest now.

For a few lovely moments I can feel a sense of accomplishment and be at peace.  And then in the next moment, I review my daily list (yes, I do have a daily list), and dig in. Then on days like today, I catch myself wondering what my life would be like if I felt this sense of peaceful joy most if not all of every day.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my life: I’m doing what I love, have pretty good health, and friends and relationships that feed my spirit.  Even so, when I’m challenged, there is a tiny voice inside me that can get loud and that is sometimes filled with terror. This tiny voice has a lot of power, because it can stop me from feeling that peace and joy, or even remembering it exists.

The voice isn’t fake – it’s real. But the reasons for feeling the terror aren’t real, at least not any more.  And yet it persists. You might also experience moments of discomfort, or even terror, and if you do … if it helps … here’s what I do to calm that voice down:

  • Be with your pain. That’s right! Sit mindfully with the voice, and the feelings in my body it generates. A know in my stomach, tense shoulders, whatever the sensation, I sit with the feelings and let them be whatever they need to be.  The important thing is to learn to accept the voice as real and genuine, and a natural part of who you are.
  • Limit your time with it. In my meditation practice, I always begin by focusing on my process of breathing; then move my focus to something else, ending with breathing. I do this so that I can begin and end on something that balances me, and breathing is our natural balancer. Each in-breath activates our sympathetic nervous system, and each out-breath activates our parasympathetic nervous system – together, this contributes to bringing us, naturally, into homeostasis. In the middle, I will take 10 minutes or even half an hour to be with my tiny voice and the sensations and feelings it generates inside me.  I will only spend this time on it, limiting it’s influence and impact on me, so that I – and not it – controls my day.  This is important! Being with anything or anyone doesn’t mean they get to take over – taking over isn’t a path to peace or joy. Ever! So limit the time you spend with your pain.  Contain it by giving it time and acceptance, then moving on.
  • Love yourself, including your pain. This may be hard to do, and yet it’s essential. If you can’t get past the judgments about this part of you that you wish didn’t exist, then at least respect it’s reality, and perhaps make an opening for love somewhere down the road.  One way to do this is to think of this part of yourself as a small child who’s been hurt – because in fact this is very likely the source of this pain.  Then ask yourself: What would I do if I were with a small child in pain?  Would I brush the child aside, or comfort him or her?  Then do the same to that small part of you that’s in pain.

None of us is perfect.  We’ve all lived and experienced pain and disappointment.  And this experience can leave scars as well as contribute to our maturity.  I believe we need to acknowledge and accept both to live a truly happy 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.

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness

ted

Quote of the Week
We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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