7 DAYS OF MINDFULNESS-BASED MEDITATIONS – FREE

Do you ever feel that you’re burning the candle at both ends? Many of us feel this way but fail to speak up. Well, let me first say that you’re not alone. Many people feel this way- especially women. We live in a 24/7 news / event society. We wake up and check our cell phones. We go to bed right after checking our cell phones. Work never stops sending emails. Kids are kids. And, as if this wasn’t enough, there are many social and emotional challenges that all of us face daily. Our minds are racing, our hearts are pumping, and we think we can keep up on the hamster wheel until it breaks.

Don’t spin your wheels any longer. I can help you to stop burning the candle at both ends before those ends meet! Now, I wouldn’t offer you something without knowing that it could be accessible to everyone reading this post. So, as a result, I’m giving away online access to my Free (yes, free with an “F”) 7-day meditation course. It is an audio course that you can listen to and guess what- you can do this from anywhere!

Here’s the link: https://thejoyofliving.co/7day-meditation

7 day 3

If you feel passed the 7-day Free course and want more information on my in-person or online full course that deals with burning the candle at both ends, you can access more information here: https://thejoyofliving.co/programs/ You’re not obligated to buy this course first or after your free 7-Day meditation course. That meditation gift truly is from me to you and goes without any pressure or obligation to seek further services.

Life can be hard. I can help you to stand still for a second and understand the true benefits of both meditation and self-awareness.

GET FREE ACCESS TO MY 7-DAY MINDFULNESS BASED MEDITATION AUDIO PROGRAM

The Golden Mean – living magnanimously

 

When I thought of the subject of this blog about 2 months ago, life was a lot different. I was thinking of gaining a pound while on a diet because my eyes are bigger than my slow metabolism. Seems so trivial now.

And yet, it also turns out to be the perfect topic for today.

We’re into the second week of lock-down – voluntary lockdown which may turn into an involuntary one. The reason for forcing everyone to isolate is because too many people continue to ignore that call. Regardless of the truth of that, or of how people chose to isolate, the real point is that people’s tolerance is becoming very low as their anxiety shoots up.

I thought I was pretty calm about this most recent chaos, except that I blew up at a colleague who said something that may have normally annoyed me a little and now is intolerable. That fairly minor incident made me aware of my rising anxiety, and also helped me see that same rise in the people (virtually these days) around me.

As a result, I’ve been practicing grounding and de-stressing techniques daily – sometimes hourly.  I don’t want to become closed and callous to the suffering of those around me. I want to remain open-hearted and connected as much as possible.  With this in mind, I thought of Aristotle.

It was from Aristotle that I really learned of the Golden Mean – it’s everywhere, I know, but I learned it in my studies of Aristotle. For him (my understanding of him), it’s about being magnanimous. His Magnanimous Man was a person who practiced the Golden Mean, who lived in a balanced and open way. Not guarded, or miserly. Not foolishly either. Instead, this person is generous of spirit and moderate of action. (Lao Tsu also had something to say about this – you can read it if you subscribe to my newsletter).

The idea of that magnanimous person is something I now include in my daily meditations.

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 Valley

 

I’m sitting in my new temporary coffee shop doing what I usually do at the coffee shop – writing blogs and things.  I have internet. It’s cozy. A little cramped but better than being inside for another minute.

Got a great view: in front of me are a mother and her 2 young daughters practicing on their roller skates. Where I am is pretty empty, even though it’s usually hard to get a parking spot. Yes. That’s right. I’m in my car just outside of Starbucks, sipping my latte and typing away.

Today I’m cool. Yesterday I was in the kind of fog I get into when everything suddenly changes.  I planned on joining the rest of Toronto in the park along the Lakeshore, but when I got there it was so crowded I went home instead. I’d already made alternate arrangements with my clients, and was set for isolating for up to 3 weeks, but it didn’t matter. What I arrange for voluntarily is one thing; what is arranged for me involuntarily – even if it’s the same thing – is another thing.

As the expert I heard on Youtube put it, washing our hands for 20 seconds each time – and frequently, staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask if we’re around others and we have a cold – those are the major things we can do to contain the spread of the virus. It is a good idea to stay home whenever possible, and other measures people have taken to curtail the spread.

Having said all that, the very best idea in my opinion is to remain calm, accept the situation, and learn to live and grow within its temporary parameters.

This brings me to the Valley: That beautiful passage from the Tao “The valley spirit never dies … use it. It will never fail.” (the full passage is in the Quote of the Week section of my Newsletter).

Our life is made up of a series of peaks and valleys. The peaks are where we all want to be all the time, because it feels wonderful being up there, feeling the beauty of our growth and accomplishments. And yet, that isn’t where we grow – we grow in the valleys – that fertile ground filled with the compost of our past mistakes, and of what life hands us. (For more on this subject, read my blog post, Peaks and Valleys).

Yesterday, I was in a fog. Today, I am wondering what this new set of changes will bring.

Coronavirus is our future

Quote of the Week 

The valley spirit never dies;

It is the woman, primal mother.

Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.

It is like a veil barely seen.

Use it; it will never fail.

-Lao Tsu – Tao Te Ching

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 Valley

 

I’m sitting in my new temporary coffee shop doing what I usually do at the coffee shop – writing blogs and things.  I have internet. It’s cozy. A little cramped but better than being inside for another minute.

Got a great view: in front of me are a mother and her 2 young daughters practicing on their roller skates. Where I am is pretty empty, even though it’s usually hard to get a parking spot. Yes. That’s right. I’m in my car just outside of Starbucks, sipping my latte and typing away.

Today I’m cool. Yesterday I was in the kind of fog I get into when everything suddenly changes.  I planned on joining the rest of Toronto in the park along the Lakeshore, but when I got there it was so crowded I went home instead. I’d already made alternate arrangements with my clients, and was set for isolating for up to 3 weeks, but it didn’t matter. What I arrange for voluntarily is one thing; what is arranged for me involuntarily – even if it’s the same thing – is another thing.

As the expert I heard on Youtube put it, washing our hands for 20 seconds each time – and frequently, staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask if we’re around others and we have a cold – those are the major things we can do to contain the spread of the virus. It is a good idea to stay home whenever possible, and other measures people have taken to curtail the spread.

Having said all that, the very best idea in my opinion is to remain calm, accept the situation, and learn to live and grow within its temporary parameters.

This brings me to the Valley: That beautiful passage from the Tao “The valley spirit never dies … use it. It will never fail.” (the full passage is in the Quote of the Week section of my Newsletter).

Our life is made up of a series of peaks and valleys. The peaks are where we all want to be all the time, because it feels wonderful being up there, feeling the beauty of our growth and accomplishments. And yet, that isn’t where we grow – we grow in the valleys – that fertile ground filled with the compost of our past mistakes, and of what life hands us. (For more on this subject, read my blog post, Peaks and Valleys).

Yesterday, I was in a fog. Today, I am wondering what this new set of changes will bring.

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 

Surviving bad choices

 

Some of us have the good luck of being born into a family with stable, mature, loving parents, who we trust and who are able to teach and advise us in a way that helps us avoid making many bad decisions. I’ve met such people.

I don’t know what percentage of the population is this fortunate; I do know that – for many of us, no matter how much our parents love us, they have some issues that get in the way of their maturity. So, we end up being on our own at times when we really need guidance. And we sometimes make bad choices.

I was reminded of that when I heard about Liz Gilbert’s newest novel – City of Girls, a book about girls who choose to live promiscuous lives, have to face the consequences, and survive their decisions well. Most of us don’t chose such lives, nor do we have to face those kinds of consequence.

But it’s encouraging to read about their inner strength and resources that got them through. We all have such strength and resources. It may take some digging, but it’s there.

Our unhealthy obsession with choice

 

Quote of the Week 

She didn’t want to explain the recklessness, the pleasure of making the bad choice, the glory of at least this once, picking her own path to damnation.”
― Holly Black, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

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.

Surviving bad choices

 

Some of us have the good luck of being born into a family with stable, mature, loving parents, who we trust and who are able to teach and advise us in a way that helps us avoid making many bad decisions. I’ve met such people.

I don’t know what percentage of the population is this fortunate; I do know that – for many of us, no matter how much our parents love us, they have some issues that get in the way of their maturity. So, we end up being on our own at times when we really need guidance. And we sometimes make bad choices.

I was reminded of that when I heard about Liz Gilbert’s newest novel – City of Girls, a book about girls who choose to live promiscuous lives, have to face the consequences, and survive their decisions well. Most of us don’t chose such lives, nor do we have to face those kinds of consequence.

But it’s encouraging to read about their inner strength and resources that got them through. We all have such strength and resources. It may take some digging, but it’s there.

 

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 

Trauma and the Body

When any of us experience a traumatic event (sometimes leading to PTSD) – even once if it’s great enough – it isn’t something that is only emotional or mental. It’s also physical, because when we’re traumatized, we armor physically.

Resilience is something greatly discussed today, because we know now that some people who experience trauma do not armor as much as others.  The reason lies in how they were supported after the traumatic event; and this support, in turn, helped them reduce their physical, and then mental and emotional armoring.

Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist from the Netherlands, became interested in how to successfully help Viet Nam veterans. As a young practitioner, he was introduced to a vet who was having nightmares; he offered him drugs to help him sleep, and after a few weeks, the vet gave the drugs back to him, saying he preferred to have the nightmares as a living testament to those who suffered the trauma with him. He realized then that trauma sufferers hold that trauma in their hearts, minds and also their bodies.

From his ensuing work with vets, he came to appreciate that traumatized people don’t remember the story. Instead they re-experience the event, as if it was happening right now. The images, sounds, smells – all physical sensations – are as real now as they were at the time of the event.

Yet, for those vets who were able to move on, their stories changed over time, eventually being  integrated into their past. Those vets were able to move on.

From studies in neuropsychology, we know that the Amygdala is involved in registering and holding trauma, by either becoming hypersensitive or shutting down. This means the person experiencing a current event may be hypersensitive to it and react as if it were traumatizing and life-threatening, and at the same time, be insensitive to the consequences of their reactions to those around them.

Trauma, being held, cuts us off from our bodies.

Wilhelm Reich, in the 1950’s recognized this and developed his theory of Character Structures as a result. Others refined his work – Alexander Lowen, Stephen Johnson, Jack Painter, and many others more recently, base their work on this recognition. Much earlier, shamanic traditions recognized this phenomenon and learned to effectively deal with it.

These practitioners, including van der Kolk, prior to working with the traumatized person on integrating their story, help them reconnect with their bodies. Van der Kolk uses yoga; others use different kinds of massage and exercises, similar to yoga. The mind-body movement popular today is, in some part, an effort to reconnect mind and body, recognizing the essential need to be able to feel in a sensual/perceptual way, how an experience impacts a person.

If you’ve experienced trauma and it continues to impact you, then a way to begin to work with it is through some form of exercise that begins the process of de-armoring. This may be through yoga or some other physical activity that stretches and tenses different parts of your body. It may be working with a therapist who can support you as you learn to regain mastery over your physical actions and reactions. It’s my specialty, and that of many others.

Whatever you decide, know that it is possible to live free of trauma, and to regain that part of yourself that was once lost.

Our society and PTSD

 

Quote of the Week 

Armor: It’s how we protect ourselves from vulnerability. We just engage in a behavior that confirms our fear.”
― Brené Brown

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.

Trauma and the Body

When any of us experience a traumatic event (sometimes leading to PTSD) – even once if it’s great enough – it isn’t something that is only emotional or mental. It’s also physical, because when we’re traumatized, we armor physically.

Resilience is something greatly discussed today, because we know now that some people who experience trauma do not armor as much as others.  The reason lies in how they were supported after the traumatic event; and this support, in turn, helped them reduce their physical, and then mental and emotional armoring.

Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist from the Netherlands, became interested in how to successfully help Viet Nam veterans. As a young practitioner, he was introduced to a vet who was having nightmares; he offered him drugs to help him sleep, and after a few weeks, the vet gave the drugs back to him, saying he preferred to have the nightmares as a living testament to those who suffered the trauma with him. He realized then that trauma sufferers hold that trauma in their hearts, minds and also their bodies.

From his ensuing work with vets, he came to appreciate that traumatized people don’t remember the story. Instead they re-experience the event, as if it was happening right now. The images, sounds, smells – all physical sensations – are as real now as they were at the time of the event.

Yet, for those vets who were able to move on, their stories changed over time, eventually being  integrated into their past. Those vets were able to move on.

From studies in neuropsychology, we know that the Amygdala is involved in registering and holding trauma, by either becoming hypersensitive or shutting down. This means the person experiencing a current event may be hypersensitive to it and react as if it were traumatizing and life-threatening, and at the same time, be insensitive to the consequences of their reactions to those around them.

Trauma, being held, cuts us off from our bodies.

Wilhelm Reich, in the 1950’s recognized this and developed his theory of Character Structures as a result. Others refined his work – Alexander Lowen, Stephen Johnson, Jack Painter, and many others more recently, base their work on this recognition. Much earlier, shamanic traditions recognized this phenomenon and learned to effectively deal with it.

These practitioners, including van der Kolk, prior to working with the traumatized person on integrating their story, help them reconnect with their bodies. Van der Kolk uses yoga; others use different kinds of massage and exercises, similar to yoga. The mind-body movement popular today is, in some part, an effort to reconnect mind and body, recognizing the essential need to be able to feel in a sensual/perceptual way, how an experience impacts a person.

If you’ve experienced trauma and it continues to impact you, then a way to begin to work with it is through some form of exercise that begins the process of de-armoring. This may be through yoga or some other physical activity that stretches and tenses different parts of your body. It may be working with a therapist who can support you as you learn to regain mastery over your physical actions and reactions. It’s my specialty, and that of many others.

Whatever you decide, know that it is possible to live free of trauma, and to regain that part of yourself that was once lost.

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 

Time Relativity

 

When I’m crazy busy, time seems to stop until I take a breath and realize the day has gone.  Or when, as happens more mornings than I’d like, going through my to do list for the day has me already at 7pm that night. Then there are a few days when I find myself free of anything “to do”, and gaze into nothingness in wonder of the possibilities.

On rare occasions, I wake up, allowing the day to unfold, being present to what enters into it. Being with what is.

Time is a kind of human construct. It’s a measure of motion. But it’s more than that … it’s also a measure of expectation, anticipation, and presence.  Its speed is relative to what we do and where we are in our minds. That may be why time isn’t a problem for kids – they have no expectations, anticipating joy or wonder around every corner, and being fully present and engaged with whatever is. It’s us grown-ups, formerly kids, who let our worries and expectations get in the way of living.

How to gain control of your free time

 

Quote of the Week 

Time is an illusion (Einstein). It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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.

Time Relativity

 

When I’m crazy busy, time seems to stop until I take a breath and realize the day has gone.  Or when, as happens more mornings than I’d like, going through my to do list for the day has me already at 7pm that night. Then there are a few days when I find myself free of anything “to do”, and gaze into nothingness in wonder of the possibilities.

On rare occasions, I wake up, allowing the day to unfold, being present to what enters into it. Being with what is.

Time is a kind of human construct. It’s a measure of motion. But it’s more than that … it’s also a measure of expectation, anticipation, and presence.  Its speed is relative to what we do and where we are in our minds. That may be why time isn’t a problem for kids – they have no expectations, anticipating joy or wonder around every corner, and being fully present and engaged with whatever is. It’s us grown-ups, formerly kids, who let our worries and expectations get in the way of living.

 

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 

Riding the wave

 

Almost every client I see, almost every person I know, wants to have an exciting job, and great home, 2 ½ kids, a successful marriage, manageable expenses, lots of savings, and regular holidays to exotic places. I know a few people and clients who don’t buy into this dream, but honestly, they are countable on maybe 2 hands.

What I just described is sometimes called the “American Dream”; and that dream, while it might have been attainable for most people long ago, isn’t any longer.  The truth is that my parents were closer to realizing that dream than I ever was, and I’m closer than generations following me.  What my parents discovered was that the dream was empty – because there was a hidden cost.  I was about the same age as the daughter in Mad Men, and just as in the series, many of my mother’s friends were drinking too much or in psych wards. That was the cost – society restricted the role of women in order to make jobs available for men. It’s when Women’s Liberation began, and for good reason.

Having said all this, while “having it all” may be a pipe dream, creating a life that makes you feel satisfied and happy is absolutely possible. The first thing to ask yourself, if you really want happiness, is what kind of person are you? Do you have the ambition needed to even attempt the BIG dream? Or, is that something you’ve talked yourself into, or heard so many times you simply don’t question its application to your own life. For instance, those few people I mentioned in the first paragraph? None of them want fame or fortune. They have deliberately chosen a style of life that suits them, and that lifestyle doesn’t include a lot of high-octane risk. It does include risk, but not that kind of risk. In general, they’re happy, and tend to experience joy every day.

If you’re the kind of person who does want something bigger, then it’s important that you understand the risks, and also understand clearly how equipped you are in dealing with all possible consequences. You might fail; you might go broke; you might lose it all; you may have to revamp all your thoughts and plans over and over again. Do you have the stamina to ride through those possibilities? Are you the kind of person who can deal easily with uncertainty, without stress – without driving yourself (and everyone around you) crazy in the process?

If you are, then you know the thrill of riding that wave of chaos. For many of us who’ve experienced this thrill, like most really good and worthwhile things in life, it happens infrequently.  The rest of the time is getting there – preparing, planning, creating, executing those plans, then experiencing the result … tweaking or revamping and trying again. Then moving to the next level and doing it all over.

That’s one thing to understand. The other thing to understand is that none of us get there on our own. Mostly, we rely on those steady others – those steady hearts who work well with less risk and less excitement.

Steady heart or wave rider – we need both. Which are you?

Is there a real you?

 

Quote of the Week
“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”
― Isaac Asimov

 

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.