Monthly Archive: December 2018

Start this year with 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.

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.

This kind of happiness 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.

With everything we do we have this direct connection. 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 the heater to my needs.

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.

Gratefulness

 

Quote of the Week

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.
― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? 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.

Start this year with 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.

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.

This kind of happiness 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.

With everything we do we have this direct connection. 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 the heater to my needs.

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.

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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

 

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 .

Pay me now or pay me later

A few years back, I owned a house I loved. It was old Victorian that I had restored to its natural beauty. I’d sunk everything I had into that house, being as careful as I could. And yet, in the end, I was forced to sell it because I let what turned out to be a scammer talk me into doing some major work for me.

I was wooed – partly – by his competitive rates. Also by an engineer who I thought was truthful, and who recommended him. Both turned out to be untrue. Someone reading this might think I didn’t do the thing we’re all told to do: get a number of estimates and references.  I did all of that. What I didn’t do was listen to my gut, which was screaming at me big time.

So I lost my beautiful house, thankfully to a young couple who loved it and weren’t planning on gutting it.

I may have saved a little up front, but paid much more in the end. Because I ignored my gut.

Attending to what you really know deep inside is tricky – is what I’m feeling some fear that isn’t real or even useful (an emotional reaction), or is it my inner knowing that this isn’t right? There is a way to find out.

  • Find the feeling. Do a scan of your body to see what sensations are coming up for you. A sick feeling in your stomach? A quivering and tightness in your chest? A tension between your shoulder blades? Whatever it is, identify it in visceral terms. For me, it was a sense of nausea and a desire to move back out of harm’s way.
  • Compare it. To a time you felt fear and knew it. When you were safely behind glass on the 50th floor of a tower, looking down. Or up in a plane contemplating jumping with an experienced skydiver. Or on a ladder cleaning the gutters (yes, I’m afraid of heights). What did that fee like?  For me it feels like I can barely breathe; that my lungs have ceased to function. Not at all like nausea.
  • Take action. If it’s fear, I take another look at my choices and then make a decision. If it’s my gut, then I’ve learned to trust what it’s telling me. Always. And act accordingly.

You can learn the difference between gut knowing and fear reactions.  It is so worth it because it will save you a lot of emotional pain, time, and even possibly money.

Finding your inner voice

Quote of the Week

The Voice
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside
.
― Shel Silverstein

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? 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.

Pay me now or pay me later

A few years back, I owned a house I loved. It was old Victorian that I had restored to its natural beauty. I’d sunk everything I had into that house, being as careful as I could. And yet, in the end, I was forced to sell it because I let what turned out to be a scammer talk me into doing some major work for me.

I was wooed – partly – by his competitive rates. Also by an engineer who I thought was truthful, and who recommended him. Both turned out to be untrue. Someone reading this might think I didn’t do the thing we’re all told to do: get a number of estimates and references.  I did all of that. What I didn’t do was listen to my gut, which was screaming at me big time.

So I lost my beautiful house, thankfully to a young couple who loved it and weren’t planning on gutting it.

I may have saved a little up front, but paid much more in the end. Because I ignored my gut.

Attending to what you really know deep inside is tricky – is what I’m feeling some fear that isn’t real or even useful (an emotional reaction), or is it my inner knowing that this isn’t right? There is a way to find out.

  • Find the feeling. Do a scan of your body to see what sensations are coming up for you. A sick feeling in your stomach? A quivering and tightness in your chest? A tension between your shoulder blades? Whatever it is, identify it in visceral terms. For me, it was a sense of nausea and a desire to move back out of harm’s way.
  • Compare it: To a time you felt fear and knew it. When you were safely behind glass on the 50th floor of a tower, looking down. Or up in a plane contemplating jumping with an experienced skydiver. Or on a ladder cleaning the gutters (yes, I’m afraid of heights). What did that fee like? For me it feels like I can barely breathe; that my lungs have ceased to function. Not at all like nausea.
  • Take action. If it’s fear, I take another look at my choices and then make a decision. If it’s my gut, then I’ve learned to trust what it’s telling me. Always. And act accordingly.

You can learn the difference between gut knowing and fear reactions.  It is so worth it because it will save you a lot of emotional pain, time, and even possibly money.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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

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 .

The story of a purse abuser

I have a story. Two days ago my purse fell apart. The story of how I chose this purse has its own story, but that isn’t the one I want to tell today. Today I want to tell how I became a purse abuser.

Yes, you read right – I am a purse abuser. After carefully getting the purse that would fulfill all my requirements, it still ended up not being quite adequate. I wanted one that was well made of good material so that it wouldn’t fall apart. I wanted it big enough to hold my notebook along with everything else that usually goes in purses. And, I wanted one that could be worn as a back pack so that one shoulder didn’t end up in pain.

I got all those things, paying more than I wanted. That purse was and is attractive and roomy. The only problem is that once I got it, my requirements changed. I discovered, for instance, that I really needed a mouse because the keypad wasn’t reliable. Then I noticed that the battery life wasn’t all that good, so I also added a chord. And sometimes, I needed extra research material, so in they went as well.

Soon that purse was overloaded and really heavy (which is why I needed a backpack model in the first place). And sure enough, one day, almost simultaneously, the hardware on one strap shattered, the zipper broke, and the handle shredded.

I do this with every purse I’ve ever owned. My need to be prepared under any circumstance means that I “need” to have with me every conceivable thing that could possibly help in any given situation. You might suggest a suitcase with wheels, but honestly, whatever I get would soon be inadequate. I know this because I’ve tried it.

Pause.

I hope my story is entertaining and that you’ve recognized similar things in yourself or a friend. I’m wondering if you have some advice you’d love to give me, or an equally entertaining story of your own.

Stories are powerful. They grab our attention in ways that nothing else can. They influence what we do and how we view the things around us.  They have the power to light our world, and to darken it.  They can change our perspective.

Coming out as a purse abuser by telling my story means something else: it means I can now change it.

I wonder what that story will be.

The danger of a single story – Chimamanda Adichie

 

 

Quote of the Week

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? 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 story of a purse abuser

I have a story. Two days ago my purse fell apart. The story of how I chose this purse has its own story, but that isn’t the one I want to tell today. Today I want to tell how I became a purse abuser.

Yes, you read right – I am a purse abuser. After carefully getting the purse that would fulfill all my requirements, it still ended up not being quite adequate. I wanted one that was well made of good material so that it wouldn’t fall apart. I wanted it big enough to hold my notebook along with everything else that usually goes in purses. And, I wanted one that could be worn as a back pack so that one shoulder didn’t end up in pain.

I got all those things, paying more than I wanted. That purse was and is attractive and roomy. The only problem is that once I got it, my requirements changed. I discovered, for instance, that I really needed a mouse because the keypad wasn’t reliable. Then I noticed that the battery life wasn’t all that good, so I also added a chord. And sometimes, I needed extra research material, so in they went as well.

Soon that purse was overloaded and really heavy (which is why I needed a backpack model in the first place). And sure enough, one day, almost simultaneously, the hardware on one strap shattered, the zipper broke, and the handle shredded.

I do this with every purse I’ve ever owned. My need to be prepared under any circumstance means that I “need” to have with me every conceivable thing that could possibly help in any given situation. You might suggest a suitcase with wheels, but honestly, whatever I get would soon be inadequate. I know this because I’ve tried it.

Pause.

I hope my story is entertaining and that you’ve recognized similar things in yourself or a friend. I’m wondering if you have some advice you’d love to give me, or an equally entertaining story of your own.

Stories are powerful. They grab our attention in ways that nothing else can. They influence what we do and how we view the things around us.  They have the power to light our world, and to darken it.  They can change our perspective.

Coming out as a purse abuser by telling my story means something else: it means I can now change it.

I wonder what that story will be.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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

 

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 .

Your Coach Within

Seth Godin talks about how 90% of coaching is really self-coaching.  That’s true whether you have a good coach, a lousy coach, or use self-help, friends and the media as a coach.

All a good coach does is supply, in one place and in a condensed form, what you could manage to get, piece by piece, from your own sources.  What a bad coach does is send you on paths that you eventually discover are heading in the wrong direction, or no direction that’s useful. From a bad coach, you learn a lot about what not to do.

Either way, once you get the nuggets, the rest is up to you: digesting what you’ve learned and then applying it to whatever problem – or challenge – is in front of you.

Eventually, that learning becomes automatic – becomes your own inner voice of wisdom – and serves as the growing bedrock of knowledge and knowhow for increasingly complex problems and challenges.

It’s a great way to learn and grow your coach within!

Building Your Inner Coach – Bret Ledbetter

Quote of the Week

Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.
― Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto

Announcements

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? 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.

 

Your Coach Within

Seth Godin talks about how 90% of coaching is really self-coaching.  That’s true whether you have a good coach, a lousy coach, or use self-help, friends and the media as a coach.

All a good coach does is supply, in one place and in a condensed form, what you could manage to get, piece by piece, from your own sources.  What a bad coach does is send you on paths that you eventually discover are heading in the wrong direction, or no direction that’s useful. From a bad coach, you learn a lot about what not to do.

Either way, once you get the nuggets, the rest is up to you: digesting what you’ve learned and then applying it to whatever problem – or challenge – is in front of you.

Eventually, that learning becomes automatic – becomes your own inner voice of wisdom – and serves as the growing bedrock of knowledge and knowhow for increasingly complex problems and challenges.

It’s a great way to learn and grow your coach within!

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. 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

 

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 .

 

When I shame you, I shame everyone

Hi! I’m sharing this blog I wrote with you because I believe shame is such an important topic. And in case you’re wondering, it’s difficult for me to talk about because I feel shame for having to talk about it.  But by doing so, I’m hoping that others will also begin to talk.

I was at an event a few weeks back. I’d been learning something new, and during the feedback period, the teacher shamed me publicly for failing to “get” something she had reminded me of previously. Her words were to the effect: “I’ve told you about this before and you did it again”.

I did what I always do when I get criticized in this way: I put on a brave face, swallow my pride, and take in what she is saying.  I also stuff down any feelings I might have of not being seen, and of being treated like a 12-year-old. It’s an old story for me – a seeming lack of justice. And I could have easily fallen into that particular self-pity hole.

There are 2 important things I learned from this experience:

Even while feeling the warmth of shame, I noticed that I wasn’t alone in feeling this. Everyone else in the room was feeling it too. The sudden silence and lowering of eyes indicated to me that we were all feeling the impact as shame.

That’s the first point: when I shame you in public, I shame everyone else in the room.
The person who shamed me is nice, good, smart, and caring. She’s someone I like and admire. Her intention wasn’t to shame me, but to give me honest feedback. Her mistake was in the way she delivered it.

I’ve done the same to others. And that’s the second point: I’ve unintentionally shamed another person in front of others, with the same effect – the room goes quiet, eyes turned down.

There are other better ways of delivering a critique. Asking what was going on for the person, providing feedback on how that impacted other participants, followed by a query on what that person believes they can do next time.

Public shaming is rarely justified. It’s painful and leaves people feeling under-empowered.  Far better to learn how to deliver criticism in a way that leaves the other person – and everyone else in the room – energized.

Listening to Shame

 Quote of the Week

We see ourselves as nonconformist, but I think all of this is creating a more conformist, conservative age.
― Jon Ronson, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

Need more? 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.