Monthly Archive: January 2018

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

How to come to terms with the need to be liked and accepted

accepted

 

I read a recent blog from Seth Godin where he discussed what he calls the modern addiction of perfectibility, or for short, imperfectibility.

What’s imperfectibility? You might feel, deep down, that you can somehow make everyone happy. That you can silence every critic, delight every customer, and interest every person you approach. Then when the inevitable happens, when someone misunderstands you, or has the wrong impression of you and simply won’t give you a chance, you – like me – take that on as something you failed to catch. That it’s somehow on you, and that you have the power to change it and get that person to like you.

The truth is you can’t, because it doesn’t have anything to do with you. People have their reasons for feeling dissatisfied, or disliking something or someone. The reasons are mostly emotional and personal, and if it’s directed at you, that likely means you were in their line of sight at the time.

A sensitive man just got yelled at by his mother; then you come along, strangely like his mother in some indefinable way, and he finds a reason to dislike you.  A woman you’re slightly acquainted with is regualarly bullied by her boss, and takes it out on the first person she can. You, as it happens. Or, what you have to offer simply doesn’t interest the person you want to interest, and never will.

Whoever you are and whatever you have to offer, it simply can’t interest and delight everyone. And the point that Mr. Godin is making is that if what you are trying to perfect isn’t giving you joy, then it’s an addiction. And like every addiction, no matter how much you do it, it will never satisfy you.

So what’s the antidote? Re-focus.

Re-focus on what you truly like to do.  If that happens to be striving for perfection for its own sake, great! But if that striving is about trying to gain approval from someone who you aren’t likely to get it from, stop! Walk away. And focus on something important to your sense of joy. On something that feeds your soul.

And don’t worry about that other person. They have their own journey.

 

If you’re interested in reading more, sign up for my weekly newsletter.

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 .

 

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

Our history is our saving grace

history

In a recent On Being episode, Krista Tippett interviewed Isabel Wilkerson about her latest book The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. In her book, Ms. Wilkerson followed the migration of families from the deep south to the west or further, and how that history shaped their modern offspring.

The great migration in America, she discovered, wasn’t about migration. It was about freedom, and the lengths people will go to find it.  In fact, this is behind all human migration.

The young farmer in late 19th century Russia who packs up and leaves with his young family the day he is conscripted into the Russian army, knowing what that means for his life and those he loves.

The child, travelling alone through Europe, sent by her loving parents in the hope that she can find a better life than the one they are forced to live where they are.

The young African American who walks for days out of the deep South, hoping for a decent job and the hope of the freedom to simply be.

It is by no means a story of unfettered success, or even of getting what they were yearning for.  For African Americans – and new immigrants – many were greeted with resentment and continued to suffer hardship. It was a huge struggle and it didn’t always end well. And yet, it was also the beginning of a hope that simply didn’t exist without making that move.

Their history what it took to reach their destination, whatever that was – all the roadblocks, the mistakes and failures, all the unexpected successes, kindnesses and support along the way – made them.  And it wasn’t only what they did themselves; it also included everything their parents did, and their grandparents, and great-grandparents, and even further into their past.  We know now there are epigenetic changes that we inherit from our grandsires. There are also stories.

That young Russian farmer is my great Grandfather. In times of hardship, all I have to do to regain perspective is take a moment to contemplate the courage, resolve and clarity of sight he must have had to leave everything behind in a split second and begin again.

Ms. Wilkinson’s father was a pilot, and being the daughter of a pilot meant to her that, metaphorically, she could fly too.

The indigenous peoples of North America have the belief that whatever we do will impact the next 7 generations, and that we are impacted by the past 7 generations that came before us.  It’s humbling to see that whatever I do will impact my nearest and dearest, which will in turn impact their dearest, and so on for the next 7 generations.

I’ll leave the last word to Ms. Wilkerson …

And you don’t know how to react when someone says, “This is the last book that my mother or father read before they died.” But they say it with such joy and gratitude. And they say that it allowed them to come to terms with all that they had endured and to give their suffering some meaning and to recognize that they had not been alone, but that they had been part of something bigger — some connection to immigrants around the world, other people who had come up from the South as they had, and others who had been able to express their freedom and their individuality in the way they had chosen; that it was a peaceful and, in their view, fulfilling and healing way to have left this planet.

 

If you’re interested in reading more, sign up for my weekly newsletter.

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 .

Standing up for Yourself

If you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you stand up for anybody else.

-Mrs. Green, a marcher in the 1963 Civil Rights Movement on Washington

Gloria Steinem related this in her latest book My Life on the Road. Mrs. Green happened to be marching beside Gloria on that day, and Gloria was telling her about all the efforts she and her friends took to get a man of influence to listen to them and take up their cause. That’s when Mrs. Green shook her head and said: You white women! If you don’t stand up for yourself, how can you stand up for anybody else?

I’m a life coach and therapist. My job is to help people re-empower themselves. And yet there are times when I come up against something that scares me, and all I want to do is hide in a corner rather than deal with it, hoping it will be taken care of by someone else. But, paraphrasing Mrs. Green, if I don’t stand up for myself, then how can I facilitate that in my clients and those I care about?

Here’s how I help others, and can use as a reminder for myself frequently:

  • Choose your battles. Not every event I disagree with is one I need to fight. But the ones I engage in are important to me spiritually. I speak up for equal rights of all races, because I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t have equal rights. I actively fight against all animal cruelty, and increasingly, the equal rights of wild nature to live freely in their own habitat.

There are many things I don’t agree with that I won’t take the time to fight against right now. For instance, I disagree with using salt on winter roads, but I’m not willing to take the time to fight for a less eroding alternative.  That’s going to have to be someone else’s fight.

I’m sure you have a lot of things in your life that you don’t like or want to change. Which of those are personally important to you, that you’re willing to spend your energy on? Not that’s important to your spouse or loved one, unless they are that important to you; but that deeply moves you, so that you can sustain the effort it will take to stand up for.

  • Be clear on what you want to gain. Is it something that can happen this year with effort? Or in a few years’ time? Or something that can only get started in this lifetime? Gloria Steinem didn’t have a clear idea in 1967 of what she was ultimately fighting for; all she knew then was that she wanted to empower more women. So she decided to walk in the Civil Rights march (after having almost talked herself out of it).
  • Take action. All of us has more power than we know. We have the power to influence the course of our lives and of others’ lives. Ms. Steinem showed up in 1967 and walked. That’s all she did that day. And that led to other things that ultimately culminated in a world-wide women’s rights movement. Every step she took was scary and required a huge stretch on her part. That’s true for you and me.

What is important to you right now, and what can you do to make it a reality?  How can you stand up for yourself today?

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.

3 Lessons on success from an Arab business woman

Standing up for Yourself

Quote of the Week
How many more of us are faking the facade? How many more of us are pretending to be something we’re not? Even better, how many of us will have the courage to be ourselves regardless of what others think?
― Katie McGarry, Dare You To

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

Bullying and moving beyond

Bullying

You might have heard of Lizzie Valasquez, a motivational speaker and author. Lizzie suffers from a rare congenital disease that makes her stand out, whether she wants to or not. In her latest book Dare to be Kind, she talks, among other things, about bullying.

Even when she was a young child, people would sometimes react negatively to her physical appearance.  As young as 5 years old, she would hear adults comment in hurtful ways about her appearance, unable to understand how they as adults could hurt a child who hadn’t done anything to them. She’d want her parents to righteously protect her, but instead, one of them would approach the adult and say “This is my daughter Lizzie.  Would you like to meet her?”

It took Lizzie a long time to recognize the wisdom behind her parents’ response. Instead of seeing one person as victim and the other as perpetrator, they saw 2 people who needed help in 2 different ways: Their daughter needed to be made visible in a truly supportive way; and the bully needed to be seen for who he or she was in that moment – someone who was hurting.

Only people who are hurting hurt others. The bully lashes out because they’re hurting, and they don’t know how to better handle their pain.

Here’s how to deal effectively with bullying.

  • 2 choices. In this situation, you have only 2 choices: you can choose to ignore the bullying, or you can respond to it. Neither choice is the “right” one, and only you can determine what’s right for you. One suggestion: consider the consequences of your choice.
  • Ignoring it. Is this a battle you really want to fight? If the bullying isn’t extreme, if it’s a one-off situation, or if it’s potentially dangerous, you might consider ignoring it. Putting yourself in physical danger is rarely justified, and there is no shame in turning away if that’s what you need to do.
  • Responding to it. This takes courage, and if done effectively, can end bullying, or at least suppress it. Effectively responding to a bully requires empathy – putting yourself in the shoes of the person you feel is being a bully, because we all have the potential to bully.  If I’m hurt and feel isolated, I’ll respond or react to anything or anyone with, at the very least, caution and self-protection.  If, on the other hand, I feel safe, I’ll be a lot more open to giving others the benefit of the doubt.

A bullying person is a hurt person.  Respecting that they hurt, and at the same time respecting your own needs, may make the difference between a potentially dangerous and explosive encounter and a minor incident.

If you’ve ever been bullied, being empathetic isn’t easy. It’s a personal affront – hurtful, ignorant, abusive and disrespectful. It might help to understand that everything we see, do and say is a reflection of what’s going on inside us. To bully others, we must first bully ourselves.

To move on from being bullied means being able to leave it behind, emotionally and mentally, so that it doesn’t take up any space inside you.  Moving on means that the current encounter, and all future encounters are no longer a problem – that you’ve mastered them.

Choosing to respond to bullying in an empathetic and balanced way is empowering.

 

If you’re interested in knowing about your natural character traits, you might be interested in Discover Your Natural Character.

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 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

Start this year with joy

joy

If there is one thing that we all have in common, it’s that we all want to be happy.  It’s something you know about me, and I know about you.  And according to Brother David Steindl-Rast, the way to happiness is through gratitude.

Brother Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk, living in a priory in Austria, in his 90’s, and known the world over for his views on gratitude.  You can listen to him talk about gratitude in his Ted Talk on happiness.

When I think of happiness, I think of people and places that make me happy – places and people I love and have wonderful memories of.  But when I think of living happy, I think of living in joy.

Joy, for Steindl-Rast, is the kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.  We can experience this joy even in the midst of great sadness. When we lose a dear friend, under normal rather than catastrophic circumstances, there is a joy as we are present with the event at the same time that there is deep sadness.

This kind of happiness – this joy – is the kind of happiness that lasts, and is with us every day.

And it comes from gratitude, or in Steindl-Rast’s terms, gratefulness.  When he speaks of gratitude, he’s really speaking of connection through being present with what is. He sees gratitude as part of belonging; that there can be no gratitude without belonging, and no belonging without gratitude.

A simple example – when we eat, we’re eating earth, the products of earth. Salt, vegetables that are nourished and come almost directly from earth, animals who ultimately ingest vegetable matter. This is all connected to earth.  Then there are all the people who cultivated the land, growing, collecting and processing those vegetables, and the animals that go into the making of the food. Even the table you eat on, the bowl and utensils you use to eat, the chair you sit on while you eat. All of this and much more go into the food you might be eating this moment.

Everything we do we have this direct connection to, and he calls this The Great Mystery.

There is a daily practice that you can do anywhere and at any time to experience this gratefulness. To fill yourself with joy.  He calls it Stop! Look! Go!

Stop! Listen, attend –  Stop and see what the present moment has for you. It is whatever this moment presents in a split second. The sound of the heater, for instance.

Look! Behold – look at the unique opportunity this moment has for you. The warmth the heater sends into the room; the sound it makes that becomes a background of a strange kind of stillness.  The materials it’s made of; where those materials came from, and the many hands that went into digging the raw materials and shaping them into the parts of the heater.  The animals and plants that were displaced by the process, and the way they adjusted. What I must do to adjust to the limitations of my own world?

Go!   – avail yourself of this opportunity. My appreciation of that heater, and my connection to it, everyone who had a hand in making it, all the animals whose lives have been impacted by it, and how I can gain strength in facing my own daily challenges of adjustment.

Doing this simple exercise will give you an immediate feedback of joy.

 

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

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 .