Archive: Balance

Making much about nothing

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a goal in mind – something you want to accomplish by the end of the week, because you have other goals in mind that depend on accomplishing this particular task. But it means getting the cooperation, time and effort of others, without which that goal is not possible. Well, that’s worrying! Having to depend on the good will and cooperation of others! I don’t know about you, but it makes my stomach double in on itself: I immediately and automatically begin to think of all the things that might go wrong, that I have to cover somehow. It doesn’t take long before I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted … without having made a single move towards getting the task done.

If it isn’t familiar to you at a personal level, then you have heard about it. There are books, papers, clichés, even movies made about this single thing: making much about nothing.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, building a mountain out of a molehill are 2 of those clichés. I still do it  – make something out of almost nothing – far too often. If I don’t snap myself out of it, I could end up making my fears come true. At the least, I might miss the opportunity I had, living instead in fear of something I’ve imagined.

It’s a mind game. I know it’s a mind game. And yet it happens again and again.  I really want to know how I can stop it, and move instead in a different and better direction. Even though it still happens to me, it doesn’t happen with the frequency or intensity that it once had. I’ve found a way of regaining control over my anxieties of future worrying possibilities. Here’s what I do:

  • Feel it. I’ve learned to know what it physically feels like to go into worry and “what if’s”: a body awareness that is unique to each of us, and that tells me when I’m going down that particular trail. For me it’s my stomach, and a clenching in my upper chest behind my breast bone.  When I feel this sensation, I gain a valuable awareness that I’m about to do something that will cause me pain.
  • Stop it. There’s one thing I know with certainty about going down that road: it’s a waste of time and will generate nothing good. So the best thing I can do is to stop the progression in its tracks. There are probably many ways to stop yourself: I do it by saying (shouting, in fact) “Stop it!”, or “Don’t go there! It’s useless.” That works for me; it gives me a breather. It gives me a few seconds to go down a different path: one of my choosing.
  • Change it. That other path is something I’ve built up for years, refining and reinforcing it over and over, until it’s smooth, stable, steady – able to carry heavy loads. A major throughway – autobahn – in my mind. Without that road, all I have is a void – a hole – that I don’t trust and that makes me nervous.  I need to replace that hole with a new path, then reinforce that new path until it is at least as well constructed as the old one. It’s called building a new habit. It takes time and persistence. At first, it’s astonishingly hard, but over time, it gets easier.  My way is to take a big breath, then bring out of hiding the fear that is always at the root of my worry. It calms me, and gives me the energy I need to do something truly constructive.

Feel it. Stop it. Change it. Making something about something, instead of much about nothing.

 

Announcements 

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

Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head

“Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head.”

An old saying, no doubt, but one I’ve only recently noticed.  Why? Because I’ve finally learned not to stand up… when they’re shooting over my head.

I’m not alone in this, having recently witnessed someone asking for an experience she was especially meant to fail miserably in.

I weep silently for her.

There was a time – a time when I had no inkling of what I did to create the situation – when I’d ask: “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘aim here’?” The answer is “No”; there is no sign. People don’t search me out and then when they find me, aim and fire.  What really happens is, while there may be people out there looking for a scapegoat, I oblige them by detecting that search, and then doing something that directs their focus at me.

Finally, I got it. Finally, I no longer do that. Finally, I’m no longer a potential scapegoat.

If you find yourself doing what I’ve done for so long, it may be time to find a new way of being tough, or being strong, or being the one who takes it on the chin for everyone else.

Take “the other” to lunch

 

Quote of the Week 

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head

 

“Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head.”

An old saying, no doubt, but one I’ve only recently noticed.  Why? Because I’ve finally learned not to stand up… when they’re shooting over my head.

I’m not alone in this, having recently witnessed someone asking for an experience she was especially meant to fail miserably in.

I weep silently for her.

There was a time – a time when I had no inkling of what I did to create the situation – when I’d ask: “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘aim here’?” The answer is “No”; there is no sign. People don’t search me out and then when they find me, aim and fire.  What really happens is, while there may be people out there looking for a scapegoat, I oblige them by detecting that search, and then doing something that directs their focus at me.

Finally, I got it. Finally, I no longer do that. Finally, I’m no longer a potential scapegoat.

If you find yourself doing what I’ve done for so long, it may be time to find a new way of being tough, or being strong, or being the one who takes it on the chin for everyone else.

 

Announcements 

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

Broken? Or broken open?

 

I got a chance to do something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I was planning on doing this in September, but discover I have only a week to prepare. I work like mad getting everything ready, because I know that the one thing that is required for a chance at succeeding, for me, is preparation.

I get the chance, but fail. I fail because I accepted something that was simply too much for me to handle in so short a time. The issue wasn’t the work. The issue was my reluctance to accept the facts when the facts don’t “fit” with what I want.

This scenario has occurred with me a number of times. I end up feeling like Charlie tricking myself into going for Lucy’s disappearing football once again.

It brings me down. Every time. Until the last time, when I reached a point of losing everything I’d worked for – again (I’ve been in that situation before as well). This time, I did something completely different, and managed to alter my approach to the point of identifying the facts and not ignoring them.

May seem obvious, and intellectually it is. But what it took before I could change the pattern was first, to break, and then to break open.

In 12-step programs, they call this “reaching your bottom”. A necessary step to birthing something new.

The Opportunity of Adversity

 

Quote of the Week

If we do not suffer a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. Rather, it will fester, and we will experience its sorrow later, in stranger forms.”
― Elizabeth Lesser

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Broken? Or broken open?

 

I got a chance to do something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I was planning on doing this in September, but discover I have only a week to prepare. I work like mad getting everything ready, because I know that the one thing that is required for a chance at succeeding, for me, is preparation.

I get the chance, but fail. I fail because I accepted something that was simply too much for me to handle in so short a time. The issue wasn’t the work. The issue was my reluctance to accept the facts when the facts don’t “fit” with what I want.

This scenario has occurred with me a number of times. I end up feeling like Charlie tricking myself into going for Lucy’s disappearing football once again.

It brings me down. Every time. Until the last time, when I reached a point of losing everything I’d worked for – again (I’ve been in that situation before as well). This time, I did something completely different, and managed to alter my approach to the point of identifying the facts and not ignoring them.

May seem obvious, and intellectually it is. But what it took before I could change the pattern was first, to break, and then to break open.

In 12-step programs, they call this “reaching your bottom”. A necessary step to birthing something new.

 

Announcements 

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

On Power

I hear the phrase “empowerment” all over the place. I like it. In fact, I like it so much that it is the main focus in my work with others. I have a strong desire to see the people who seek my help leave feeling empowered and in charge of their lives.

Another phrase we have all heard – maybe too much and for too long – is “trust your gut”. The issue that we all eventually stumble on when we’re attempting to trust our gut is confusion over what is a real gut “knowing” and what is a fear response. Unless we’ve worked with identifying that inner knowing, and have developed a personal honestly that clearly identifies when we’re reacting from fear, that distinction will always remain cloudy. And we certainly can’t “trust our gut” very well when we aren’t clear.

And yet, I believe that learning to identify what our gut knows, and then always following it, is the only way we have to becoming truly empowered.

It’s because it’s in our body that we feel what is of value to us. We don’t feel love in our head – we feel it in our hearts – physically in our hearts – and in how light and energized we are whenever we’re around our loved ones.  We don’t feel righteous anger in our heads, but in our throat, or chest, or even legs.

Our bodies don’t tell us in words what is important to us, but in physical sensations.  In our Western society, we have learned from an early age to repress our awareness of those sensations – to the point that when there is a conflict between how we physically respond and what we feel is “right”, many of us suppress that feeling and go with the thought. Almost always we discover after a while that it got us nowhere – or worse.

There is no way around it: to really be in charge of your own life – to be self-powered, you must learn to “trust your gut”.

The power of self-acceptance

 

Quote of the Week

In order to trust your body as a guide, the first step is to begin to understand it.”
― Deepak Chopra

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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

 

On Power

 

I hear the phrase “empowerment” all over the place. I like it. In fact, I like it so much that it is the main focus in my work with others. I have a strong desire to see the people who seek my help leave feeling empowered and in charge of their lives.

Another phrase we have all heard – maybe too much and for too long – is “trust your gut”. The issue that we all eventually stumble on when we’re attempting to trust our gut is confusion over what is a real gut “knowing” and what is a fear response. Unless we’ve worked with identifying that inner knowing, and have developed a personal honestly that clearly identifies when we’re reacting from fear, that distinction will always remain cloudy. And we certainly can’t “trust our gut” very well when we aren’t clear.

And yet, I believe that learning to identify what our gut knows, and then always following it, is the only way we have to becoming truly empowered.

It’s because it’s in our body that we feel what is of value to us. We don’t feel love in our head – we feel it in our hearts – physically in our hearts – and in how light and energized we are whenever we’re around our loved ones.  We don’t feel righteous anger in our heads, but in our throat, or chest, or even legs.

Our bodies don’t tell us in words what is important to us, but in physical sensations.  In our Western society, we have learned from an early age to repress our awareness of those sensations – to the point that when there is a conflict between how we physically respond and what we feel is “right”, many of us suppress that feeling and go with the thought. Almost always we discover after a while that it got us nowhere – or worse.

There is no way around it: to really be in charge of your own life – to be self-powered, you must learn to “trust your gut”.

 

Announcements 

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

 

Building a trusting relationship

relationship

I believe that relations are the key to human happiness and growth. When a client I’m seeing begins a new relationship of any kind, I know to get ready, because life is so much easier when we’re on our own. It’s the relationships we enter into are that are the true testing ground of maturity.

There’s an old story – perhaps you’ve heard it: A monk, living on his own on a mountain top, was  revered far and wide as wise and learned. One day, a fellow monk heard of this, and being a little mischievous, decided to visit the revered recluse.

The curious monk showed up on a day when the reclusive monk was meditating (which he did for long hours every day). He didn’t bother knocking; just came in, leaving the door ajar and incidentally letting the debris from outside scatter on previously clean floors.

The reclusive monk took in a deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Then the curious monk began to relate everything that happened to him on the way – in detail and loudly – speaking not 2 inches from the recluse’s ear. Wreaking of garlic.

The reclusive monk took in another deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Finally, the curious monk began opening up all the windows, letting in the rain that had started, along with more debris. He declared he was hungry and ate all the stew that had been made earlier, leaving the dirty dishes piled in the sink.

The reclusive monk had had enough! He lost it, railing at the visitor about his rudeness, lack of manners, intrusiveness, and so on, until finally he was out of breath and energy.

The visiting monk had made his point: It’s easy to be serene and perfect when you’re a hermit. The real work begins with relationship with others.

The key component to developing trusting relationships is openness and honesty: of admitting to a mistake instead of trying to hide it, thereby validating what the other person likely knew anyway; of being clear and honest about your own needs and desires; and caring about the needs and desires of the other.

In today’s atmosphere of mistrust, it’s tempting to turn into a recluse. But that is a dead end that will never lead to a sense of living well. It’s a lot harder, but much more satisfying, to find and build trusting relationships that you can count on in both good and bad times.

How to build (and rebuild) trust

 

Quote of the Week

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
– 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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Building a trusting relationship

relationship

I believe that relations are the key to human happiness and growth. When a client I’m seeing begins a new relationship of any kind, I know to get ready, because life is so much easier when we’re on our own. It’s the relationships we enter into are that are the true testing ground of maturity.

There’s an old story – perhaps you’ve heard it: A monk, living on his own on a mountain top, was  revered far and wide as wise and learned. One day, a fellow monk heard of this, and being a little mischievous, decided to visit the revered recluse.

The curious monk showed up on a day when the reclusive monk was meditating (which he did for long hours every day). He didn’t bother knocking; just came in, leaving the door ajar and incidentally letting the debris from outside scatter on previously clean floors.

The reclusive monk took in a deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Then the curious monk began to relate everything that happened to him on the way – in detail and loudly – speaking not 2 inches from the recluse’s ear. Wreaking of garlic.

The reclusive monk took in another deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Finally, the curious monk began opening up all the windows, letting in the rain that had started, along with more debris. He declared he was hungry and ate all the stew that had been made earlier, leaving the dirty dishes piled in the sink.

The reclusive monk had had enough! He lost it, railing at the visitor about his rudeness, lack of manners, intrusiveness, and so on, until finally he was out of breath and energy.

The visiting monk had made his point: It’s easy to be serene and perfect when you’re a hermit. The real work begins with relationship with others.

The key component to developing trusting relationships is openness and honesty: of admitting to a mistake instead of trying to hide it, thereby validating what the other person likely knew anyway; of being clear and honest about your own needs and desires; and caring about the needs and desires of the other.

In today’s atmosphere of mistrust, it’s tempting to turn into a recluse. But that is a dead end that will never lead to a sense of living well. It’s a lot harder, but much more satisfying, to find and build trusting relationships that you can count on in both good and bad times.

Announcements 

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

Change the world – Change ourselves

change

One of my teachers does things a lot differently than I do, and because of this, we clash. It would be so much easier for me if she would only change!

I want my teacher to change. I also want the attitude and policies of certain institutions to change. You may want similar people or institutions to change – or your partner, your child, others in your life who, because they are opposed, one way or another, to what you want or believe in, justified or not.

I want to change the world, or at least my little corner of the world. In my eyes, for the better. But to do that, I need the cooperation of others – of my teacher, or those who run the institutions I interact with.

I don’t want to compromise my beliefs to get what I want; or bend others to my will with partial truths and manipulation. I want them to be open to working with me, so that I can move ahead feeling good about myself, and about them.

The truth is that I can accomplish this – change the world – only by changing myself.

When you think about it, it’s the only thing that I – or you – can change: Ourselves.

Not by changing our core beliefs or compromising ourselves, but by changing our approach, and our attitude toward others.

For instance, I was challenged by this teacher to find a way of really understanding an issue I’ve had for a very long time, and then use that understanding to effect positive change in myself. I’ve been “working on” myself for many years, and really didn’t think this task was going to give me anything I didn’t already know. But I agreed to do it, because I really wanted to remove that issue.

For the next 2 months, I used all the tool and techniques at my disposal. I consulted others when I felt the need. I used whatever came into my awareness and experience during these 2 months to help me change. That included whatever I read and watched: if I was triggered by a character or situation, I would ask myself how that person or event reminded me of myself, and then open myself to the truth of what I had the courage to see.

It wasn’t easy, or pleasant at times.  At times, it was painful and humbling. But in the end, I discovered what it was that I had an issue with, how I used that issue to keep me from growing. I also learned how I could alter that behavior by changing my approach to it, and my attitude to myself and others.

You too can change the world, by first changing yourself.

Smart failure for a fast-changing world

Quote of the Week 

We can change society, change humanity by changing ourselves as individuals. By cultivating inner values, we can change our own lives and those of our families. This is how we can create a more peaceful world.”
― Dalai Lama

Announcements 

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