Monthly Archive: April 2020

Who we are in hard times

During my days as a project manager, I would periodically get a new person to this field wondering why I was getting paid so much when everything seemed so straight-forward. The answer was that I wasn’t getting paid a lot for the straight-forward part; I was getting paid for those times when everything became chaotic. Project managers are known for their stoic stance in the face of insanity – it’s often the thing that makes the difference between a successful project and an abject failure.

Now I’m a therapist and coach. People see me for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the reason is that they are experiencing their first hard time and don’t know what to do. They have no skills for such times, and feel their world falling out from under them.

There’s a saying that goes something like: it’s easy to be moral when life is good. The real test happens when life isn’t so good. That’s when the ability of taking the long view, having a steady heart and a cool head is so important. Even more importantly, this is when self-honesty and clear boundaries and values count, because without these, you may be able to look like you’re calm, but inside you will be anything but calm.

We’re defined for who we are when times are hard. It’s the testing ground of life, and our opportunity to grow. As many wise men and women of the past have reminded us, it isn’t what we get handed in life, but how we deal with what we get that matters.

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 

Keep Learning

… a seemingly appropriate message for today, since we seemingly have so much extra time in our moated homes. However, if you are at all like me, I am tiring of the smiley faces reminding me of the “plus” sides of being home-bound. I have moments – sometimes days – of immobility. A kind of mild state of depression because my ability to move has been so curtailed.

All for a very good reason. I know and appreciate that – and the people who are keeping me safe. And yet … I feel the annoyance beginning to take over. I prefer to be around people (online at the moment) who are comfortable talking straight and not sunshiny. Some of the sunshiniest people I’ve heard are salaried, have paid-for homes and gardens, and generally see this as a vacation … and needed rest.

For the rest of us, it’s not so sunshiny: We have the same bills and not the same means of paying those bills. Many of us are having to stretch that dollar to cover daily survival needs, like food. So the message “Keep learning” just may make you want to rant and throw things.

However, now that I’ve got it out there, I have found myself taking this time to learn things I would never have considered, due to lack of time. Now I have good reason to learn them.  Because those things might help me increase my badly-diminished client base. Because I’m discovering techniques I’ve never heard of before that really interest me. Because I have time to plan and imagine, which leads to projects I can do from my home.

So, when I’m not immobile, I’m learning. And really enjoying it! Where I might have learned these things anyway under normal circumstances, I would not have had any time to actually enjoy them. Well, I’m enjoying them now! Every one of them.

How to get better at the things you care about – a window of opportunity in these times

 

Quote of the Week 

As long as you keep letting life ask you another question- and reveal that there is always more for you to be and do – you are unstoppable.”
― Jennifer Krause

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.

Keep Learning

… a seemingly appropriate message for today, since we seemingly have so much extra time in our moated homes. However, if you are at all like me, I am tiring of the smiley faces reminding me of the “plus” sides of being home-bound. I have moments – sometimes days – of immobility. A kind of mild state of depression because my ability to move has been so curtailed.

All for a very good reason. I know and appreciate that – and the people who are keeping me safe. And yet … I feel the annoyance beginning to take over. I prefer to be around people (online at the moment) who are comfortable talking straight and not sunshiny. Some of the sunshiniest people I’ve heard are salaried, have paid-for homes and gardens, and generally see this as a vacation … and needed rest.

For the rest of us, it’s not so sunshiny: We have the same bills and not the same means of paying those bills. Many of us are having to stretch that dollar to cover daily survival needs, like food. So the message “Keep learning” just may make you want to rant and throw things.

However, now that I’ve got it out there, I have found myself taking this time to learn things I would never have considered, due to lack of time. Now I have good reason to learn them.  Because those things might help me increase my badly-diminished client base. Because I’m discovering techniques I’ve never heard of before that really interest me. Because I have time to plan and imagine, which leads to projects I can do from my home.

So, when I’m not immobile, I’m learning. And really enjoying it! Where I might have learned these things anyway under normal circumstances, I would not have had any time to actually enjoy them. Well, I’m enjoying them now! Every one of them.

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 Subway Effect

I’ve been in Manhattan a few times, and as a visitor who isn’t used to the vibrations of Manhattan, I am very aware of that underlying nervous vibrational hum that is ever-present. I imagine in my mind it’s caused by the subway system that runs the length and breadth of that island, but is so much a part of that space and the people living in Manhattan. So much so that it’s considered part of the Manhattan culture (quieted now because of what they’re suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and temporary).

Living in downtown Toronto – also high energy and constant – I was surprised to feel it. That heightened energy of the heart of New York City makes Toronto feel like a calm retreat.

Well, it used to feel that way. Here, even with the streets and sidewalks uncharacteristically quiet, that nervous vibration has come to town. I feel it whenever I pass someone as we jointly move to opposite sides of the walkway; when I notice my neighbor (who has seen and spoken to me for at least 5 years regularly) pass me fearfully by without recognition; even when I’m virtually with friends, clients and colleagues as they describe their fears.

People are beginning to want to stay home, to cloister themselves in their home cocoon and see no one. Preferring to spend hours reading, playing video games or watching Netflix rather than do anything creative – because they can’t think; because they don’t want to think … or feel.

This nervous vibration or “subway effect” is increasing.  I think it’s because we don’t know how long our shut down will last, or how it will impact our lives going forward.  As my husband put it when he discovered he wouldn’t be able cross the border to join me for at least 2 more weeks, “I’d be able to handle this a lot better if I knew it was only 2 more weeks. Or even 2 months. As long as I could see an end point.”

The good news is that many are beginning to look towards the future, which means that many communities are beginning to gain some control over the pandemic. Even so, it will likely be at least a month or 2 before we begin to have solid answers on next steps.

Meantime, it’s up to each of us to take steps to calm this nervous energy generated by the unknown ground we all find ourselves in. Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin each day with something grounding and calming. I have my own way, involving clearing my sinuses using a netipot of sterilized salt water, washing my hands and face, taking my temperature, and meditating (It doesn’t have to make sense to the world, just to you). Then I take half an hour to plan my day, never neglecting to acknowledge what is good in my life (Andy and I are both safe and healthy, for instance). What routine or ritual would help set the ground for you?
  • Set your focus on something hopeful. You may not be able to get out, but we all know this will end eventually; the and more we take good precautions, the sooner that will happen. Yes, it’s important to be realistic and understand possible difficulties, but there is no good reason to dwell on them if there is nothing to be done at this time.
  • Do something that gives you either pleasure or mastery ever day. It could be something as simple a making a latte, or taking a hot bath; or filing papers that have been on your to do list for months (or years). It could be writing friends, even if you don’t feel like it. These activities always end up making us feel good, and therefore reinforce that focus over feeling bad.
  • Then, at the end of the day, go to bed at your regular time. Since few of us need to get up and go somewhere daily, it’s tempting to stay up with a bowl of popcorn and watch endless movies – or whatever your favored means of blanking out is. But routine is part of mastery, and discipline helps you maintain routine.

Going to bed and getting up on time, beginning every day with something grounding and calming, setting your focus on something hopeful, and doing something daily that gives you either pleasure or mastery: this will definitely help you remove that “subway effect” in your own life, and even possibly help others do so too.

How we can face the future without fear together

 

Quote of the Week 

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move.” 

― Rumi, The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

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 Subway Effect

 

I’ve been in Manhattan a few times, and as a visitor who isn’t used to the vibrations of Manhattan, I am very aware of that underlying nervous vibrational hum that is ever-present. I imagine in my mind it’s caused by the subway system that runs the length and breadth of that island, but is so much a part of that space and the people living in Manhattan. So much so that it’s considered part of the Manhattan culture (quieted now because of what they’re suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, and temporary).

Living in downtown Toronto – also high energy and constant – I was surprised to feel it. That heightened energy of the heart of New York City makes Toronto feel like a calm retreat.

Well, it used to feel that way. Here, even with the streets and sidewalks uncharacteristically quiet, that nervous vibration has come to town. I feel it whenever I pass someone as we jointly move to opposite sides of the walkway; when I notice my neighbor (who has seen and spoken to me for at least 5 years regularly) pass me fearfully by without recognition; even when I’m virtually with friends, clients and colleagues as they describe their fears.

People are beginning to want to stay home, to cloister themselves in their home cocoon and see no one. Preferring to spend hours reading, playing video games or watching Netflix rather than do anything creative – because they can’t think; because they don’t want to think … or feel.

This nervous vibration or “subway effect” is increasing.  I think it’s because we don’t know how long our shut down will last, or how it will impact our lives going forward.  As my husband put it when he discovered he wouldn’t be able cross the border to join me for at least 2 more weeks, “I’d be able to handle this a lot better if I knew it was only 2 more weeks. Or even 2 months. As long as I could see an end point.”

The good news is that many are beginning to look towards the future, which means that many communities are beginning to gain some control over the pandemic. Even so, it will likely be at least a month or 2 before we begin to have solid answers on next steps.

Meantime, it’s up to each of us to take steps to calm this nervous energy generated by the unknown ground we all find ourselves in. Here are some suggestions:

  • Begin each day with something grounding and calming. I have my own way, involving clearing my sinuses using a netipot of sterilized salt water, washing my hands and face, taking my temperature, and meditating (It doesn’t have to make sense to the world, just to you). Then I take half an hour to plan my day, never neglecting to acknowledge what is good in my life (Andy and I are both safe and healthy, for instance). What routine or ritual would help set the ground for you?
  • Set your focus on something hopeful. You may not be able to get out, but we all know this will end eventually; the and more we take good precautions, the sooner that will happen. Yes, it’s important to be realistic and understand possible difficulties, but there is no good reason to dwell on them if there is nothing to be done at this time.
  • Do something that gives you either pleasure or mastery ever day. It could be something as simple a making a latte, or taking a hot bath; or filing papers that have been on your to do list for months (or years). It could be writing friends, even if you don’t feel like it. These activities always end up making us feel good, and therefore reinforce that focus over feeling bad.
  • Then, at the end of the day, go to bed at your regular time. Since few of us need to get up and go somewhere daily, it’s tempting to stay up with a bowl of popcorn and watch endless movies – or whatever your favored means of blanking out is. But routine is part of mastery, and discipline helps you maintain routine.

Going to bed and getting up on time, beginning every day with something grounding and calming, setting your focus on something hopeful, and doing something daily that gives you either pleasure or mastery: this will definitely help you remove that “subway effect” in your own life, and even possibly help others do so too.

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 

Who you choose

 

How do you choose who to be close to, and why?  People who lift your spirits? People who inspire you? Or people around whom you feel lacking; in whose company you feel alone?

I’ve done both. I’ve been with inspirational people who have challenged me to the max, and who inspired me to grow. I’ve also been with people who I thought would inspire me as a teacher, or who I thought wanted to connect as I did, but instead, I ended up feeling like an outsider. The first increased my energy and enjoyment; the second ultimately depleted it.

Of course, nothing in life is that simple. Those who inspired me the most often began as tyrants. But unlike hurtful tyrants, these, I discovered, had my best interests at heart. My energy with them was never depleted – increased to the level of high heat, perhaps, but not depleted. Do you have people in your life like that?  A teacher, perhaps, who challenges you every time you wander off mentally.

Then there are those you choose as friends. They may have chosen you. Every time you’re with that person, you leave feeling tired, perhaps even soiled, like you’ve been through something that took almost all the extra reserves of energy you had. That could be for a lot of reasons, and whatever the reason is, it leaves you feeling depleted.

It’ hard to tell sometimes – challenger or depleter?  You may decide to stick around for a while to find out. I usually do, and it’s always worth it.

Believe it or not, it reminds me of the garter snake. I played with garter snakes as a young child, and came to know them quite well. They are one of the few species of snakes that are communal, which leads to an interesting fact about them: they can sometimes be poisonous, depending on who they hang out with and what they ingest.

We’re the same: if we hang out with people we feel rotten around, we end up taking that on.

I’d rather take on the qualities of those I love and admire, and who feed my spirit.

The art of choosing

 

Quote of the Week 

Choose people who will lift you up. Find people who will make you better.”
― Michelle Obama

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 

Who you choose

 

How do you choose who to be close to, and why?  People who lift your spirits? People who inspire you? Or people around whom you feel lacking; in whose company you feel alone?

I’ve done both. I’ve been with inspirational people who have challenged me to the max, and who inspired me to grow. I’ve also been with people who I thought would inspire me as a teacher, or who I thought wanted to connect as I did, but instead, I ended up feeling like an outsider. The first increased my energy and enjoyment; the second ultimately depleted it.

Of course, nothing in life is that simple. Those who inspired me the most often began as tyrants. But unlike hurtful tyrants, these, I discovered, had my best interests at heart. My energy with them was never depleted – increased to the level of high heat, perhaps, but not depleted. Do you have people in your life like that?  A teacher, perhaps, who challenges you every time you wander off mentally.

Then there are those you choose as friends. They may have chosen you. Every time you’re with that person, you leave feeling tired, perhaps even soiled, like you’ve been through something that took almost all the extra reserves of energy you had. That could be for a lot of reasons, and whatever the reason is, it leaves you feeling depleted.

It’ hard to tell sometimes – challenger or depleter?  You may decide to stick around for a while to find out. I usually do, and it’s always worth it.

Believe it or not, it reminds me of the garter snake. I played with garter snakes as a young child, and came to know them quite well. They are one of the few species of snakes that are communal, which leads to an interesting fact about them: they can sometimes be poisonous, depending on who they hang out with and what they ingest.

We’re the same: if we hang out with people we feel rotten around, we end up taking that on.

I’d rather take on the qualities of those I love and admire, and who feed my spirit.

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 

Everyone is always doing their best

 

I was doing my allowed grocery run today, listening to a talk show, and vaguely heard the announcer mentioning some celebrity name … didn’t really pay that much attention until I heard what this celebrity said. Here it is:

When I go outside I see empty streets, and I believe that is a statement of love … love for our elderly parents, and brothers and sisters with compromised immune systems; love for our neighbors and friends. Love and acknowledgment for those of us who no longer have a paycheck, or who can’t pay their rent, or who go bankrupt… .

I wish I’d heard who said that. It’s a beautiful statement from a generous heart.

It reminds me of something else I’m hearing around me – that everyone is doing their best. It may not be my best or your best. It may not be the best they can do on a good day, but it’s their best for today.

Instead of judging my neighbor, I want to hold what I heard over the radio in my heart, knowing that we are all doing our best – and always doing the best we can – in this moment.

Three questions to ask yourself about everything you do

 

Quote of the Week 

I believe people are more inclined to do their best, not when they feel loved, but when they feel loved regardless.”
― Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

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 

 

Everyone is always doing their best

 

I was doing my allowed grocery run today, listening to a talk show, and vaguely heard the announcer mentioning some celebrity name … didn’t really pay that much attention until I heard what this celebrity said. Here it is:

When I go outside I see empty streets, and I believe that is a statement of love … love for our elderly parents, and brothers and sisters with compromised immune systems; love for our neighbors and friends. Love and acknowledgment for those of us who no longer have a paycheck, or who can’t pay their rent, or who go bankrupt… .

I wish I’d heard who said that. It’s a beautiful statement from a generous heart.

It reminds me of something else I’m hearing around me – that everyone is doing their best. It may not be my best or your best. It may not be the best they can do on a good day, but it’s their best for today.

Instead of judging my neighbor, I want to hold what I heard over the radio in my heart, knowing that we are all doing our best – and always doing the best we can – in this moment.

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