Monthly Archive: December 2019

Inner temple

 

This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.

Ram Dass – Dissolving the Fear

Quote of the Week 

Seek the temple within, the silent place you can go in the midst of it all.
― Nikki Rowe

Announcements 

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 .

 

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 .

Inner temple

 

This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.

 

 

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 

Will it matter tomorrow?

 

This is a busy time of year for most of us. Business and family parties, finishing off what won’t keep for the New Year, preparing for those few days you plan to relax. Every time I plan a vacation, my to-do list grows, and a lot of things I put off indefinitely seem to gain in urgency, so that by the time I go, I’m exhausted, having been up till 4 in the morning taking care of all those urgent matters.

It’s as if I’m preparing for the possibility of death or extreme change, so that everything becomes urgent. More than important.

A trick I learned a while ago for dealing with my own temporary insanity around sudden urgent tasks is this:  if I feel an overwhelming need to get some task done, even though the need to get this thing done was never that important before, I delete it. Completely.  Then I look at the important tasks, and focus only on them, because when I label something “important”, I’m doing so from a calm, considered place. On the other hand, when I label something “urgent” I’m not at all coming from a place of calm.

I suspect that “urgent” really means “I’ll keep myself so busy that I can’t possibly worry about what might go wrong with this long-awaited event”. I suspect this, because if it happens that the urgent task doesn’t get done, by the time I return, I don’t even think about it.

Is this a habit of yours too? Even with important tasks, some may not be as important as I believe.  The question then is: will it matter tomorrow? How will I feel tomorrow, a month or a year from now if I don’t finish this? Will it really matter in the long run?

Even more revealing is asking: what will matter tomorrow, a month or a year from now? What are you doing now that will help you grow and thrive tomorrow?

Measuring what makes life worthwhile

 

 

Quote of the Week 

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Announcements 

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 .

 

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 .

 

Will it matter tomorrow?

 

This is a busy time of year for most of us. Business and family parties, finishing off what won’t keep for the New Year, preparing for those few days you plan to relax. Every time I plan a vacation, my to-do list grows, and a lot of things I put off indefinitely seem to gain in urgency, so that by the time I go, I’m exhausted, having been up till 4 in the morning taking care of all those urgent matters.

It’s as if I’m preparing for the possibility of death or extreme change, so that everything becomes urgent. More than important.

A trick I learned a while ago for dealing with my own temporary insanity around sudden urgent tasks is this:  if I feel an overwhelming need to get some task done, even though the need to get this thing done was never that important before, I delete it. Completely.  Then I look at the important tasks, and focus only on them, because when I label something “important”, I’m doing so from a calm, considered place. On the other hand, when I label something “urgent” I’m not at all coming from a place of calm.

I suspect that “urgent” really means “I’ll keep myself so busy that I can’t possibly worry about what might go wrong with this long-awaited event”. I suspect this, because if it happens that the urgent task doesn’t get done, by the time I return, I don’t even think about it.

Is this a habit of yours too? Even with important tasks, some may not be as important as I believe.  The question then is: will it matter tomorrow? How will I feel tomorrow, a month or a year from now if I don’t finish this? Will it really matter in the long run?

Even more revealing is asking: what will matter tomorrow, a month or a year from now? What are you doing now that will help you grow and thrive tomorrow?

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 .

 

Here’s to the Journey …

 

One sure way to get and stay anxious is to focus on the results you want to happen, the destination you want to arrive at – a coveted job or position, a successful venture, party, or dinner. It doesn’t matter – as long as your focus is on how you want the future to look like, it isn’t at all on what’s happening around you right now.

And that means you are missing out on so much! On how you’re impacting those around you. On the wins and learnings about what you’re in the process of creating. How you feel in your gut about what you’re doing.  Any opportunities that open up during this process of living.

If you’re not present for the process as it unfolds, you miss out big time.

So, as Harry Kim realized in the final episode of the series “Startrek Voyager”, it’s the journey that matters. With that in mind, I raise a glass of something delicious to salute the beauty and power of the process of living. Here’s to the journey!

Alive! Now what?

 

Quote of the Week 

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

Announcements 

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 .

 

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 .

 

 

Here’s to the Journey …

 

One sure way to get and stay anxious is to focus on the results you want to happen, the destination you want to arrive at – a coveted job or position, a successful venture, party, or dinner. It doesn’t matter – as long as your focus is on how you want the future to look like, it isn’t at all on what’s happening around you right now.

And that means you are missing out on so much! On how you’re impacting those around you. On the wins and learnings about what you’re in the process of creating. How you feel in your gut about what you’re doing.  Any opportunities that open up during this process of living.

If you’re not present for the process as it unfolds, you miss out big time.

So, as Harry Kim realized in the final episode of the series “Startrek Voyager”, it’s the journey that matters. With that in mind, I raise a glass of something delicious to salute the beauty and power of the process of living. Here’s to the journey!

 

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 power of fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But expect the best.

Smash fear, learn anything

 

Quote of the Week 

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist  

Announcements 

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 power of fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But expect the best.

 

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 .

 

Boundaries

 

Do you find that challenges come in waves? Not just in pairs, or threes, as tales tell. But in bunches.  That happened with me over the past several months, where I felt my boundaries being challenged over and over.

What I mean by that is that I would be asked – or expected – to let some seemingly little thing happen. Like letting something slip by as a “personal favor”, or changing the rules for a friend, or acting as mother to someone I’m not a mother to, or finding myself expected to listen to an endless rant on a mutual acquaintance.

These are all boundary breakers, because they effectively make me responsible, or partly responsible, for my friend’s or acquaintance’s, or colleague’s behavior.  The personal favor that I grant, if it causes pain for someone, can be justifiably seen as my fault, at least in part. The rule-changing, likewise.  Being a mother to a child is a special relationship that allows a boundaryless connection to some extent while your child is young. But allowing that in adulthood is called “codependence”. Allowing a friend or colleague to rant for more than a few minutes isn’t helpful to either of us: getting those bad feelings aired once is good; re-airing them more than that is painful and really depressing.

Apparently, I must score high on agreeableness – people who score high in this are more likely to accept someone oversharing because they don’t want the other person to feel in the wrong. I do know it’s a challenge for me, and have been aware of it for some time.  After all, I’m a therapist, and boundary maintenance is important in my line of work.

If you’re like me in allowing others to cross your boundaries, here are some tips in changing that, and living happier as a result:

  • Awareness. Learn to recognize the signs that boundaries are being challenged. One major sign is how you’re feeling about the conversation. Are you feeling uneasy? Bored? Anxious?  Pay attention to these indicators; take them seriously. True, it might be for some other reason – like broaching an unpleasant topic – but the more you become aware of how you react to breaking boundaries, the better you will be at recognizing the signs early.
  • Become a little disagreeable. Allow prolonged silences; don’t answer prying questions. You might get an apology, or a rebuff. Either way, you’ll feel stronger and in charge of the conversation, rather than at the effect of the other.
  • Limit it. Give it 5 or 10 minutes, then say you need to go elsewhere, or do other things. If a friend needs to vent, and you’re open to listening for a while, then this is a way to do it and support your friend without making you feel caught and cornered.
  • Attend to the degree of separation. With an intimate partner, most of us are very close and reveal a lot. Even here, there are boundaries: my partner may not want me to reveal things he’s said to me in private (this is even truer with our kids).  I’ll tend to reveal more to a friend than I do to an acquaintance or stranger.  Then there are relationships that are inherently unequal:  parent-child, teacher-student, therapist-client, manager-employee. It’s important to know and understand the rules of engagement when in an unequal situation, and the responsibility for doing so should rest with the person with the greater power.
  • When your boss is crossing a boundary: sometimes it’s obvious (a sexual inuendo) and sometimes it isn’t (asking a personal question). You may be dealing with an ethically dubious person and fear being fired if you don’t go along with it.  But honestly, letting yourself be invaded in never worth it in the long run.

Boundaries are good. Flexible boundaries are the best. When we honor our own boundaries, it engenders a sense of empowerment in us that makes our world a safer – and freer – place.

Good boundaries free you

Quote of the Week 

We cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person’s feelings.
― Melody Beattie

 

Announcements 

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.