Archive: Balance

Ritual

 

Every morning I wake up and go to the living room to meditate. On my way, I get the coffee ready and take some herbs, then wash my hands and face to remind myself that safety in these days of the pandemic is something I must always be aware of. After I meditate, I set my intent for the day, the sit down with my coffee to see what’s happening online. Then, I usually go for a walk before settling in to my day.

I’ve been doing most of this routine for years, and have added the cleaning and a special intent for the past 4 months.  These steps don’t take long, but they make a big difference to the flow of my day, and to how I meet that flow.

This routine has become a ritual. Sometimes I skip part or all of it. If it’s for a good reason that makes it impossible to do my morning ritual, and that only happens periodically, there’s no harm done. If it’s out of laziness, then it negatively impacts my whole day, and by the end of the day, I’m feeling off. Unbalanced.

This morning ritual gets me moving; it adds structure to my day and is something I welcome.  I miss it, both emotionally and spiritually, when I don’t do it. It helps define my day and move me in a good direction.

There are other rituals – rites of passage, blessings, superstitions, that we all do – knowingly or not, every day. All of them add meaning to our lives, even if in tiny ways.

If you’re feeling down, depressed, directionless, or simply unmotivated, try adding your own personal ritual to the morning, every day. And within a few months, see how your day feels different.

 

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 

Jaw breaker or licorice

 

Jaw breaker or licorice – I have to decide. I’m frozen on the spot … jaw breaker or licorice. Once I decide, my hard-earned 25 cents will be a thing of the past.

My sister refuses to accompany me to the corner store any longer, because standing there with me in my frozen state is just too unbearable.

That’s my earliest memory of indecision. Happily, it’s no longer a problem. But honestly, it took way too long to let it go.

When it was a problem, the dilemma was always around the possibility of making the wrong decision and regretting what I’d done. The turned down job, the loved one I chose to leave, the city or county I moved away from. For anyone who has experienced this feeling, every decision we make and act on sets us down a path, and by doing so, limits the possibility of experiencing some different, possibly better, path.

We won’t ever know now … we tell ourselves. And right away, feel regret for the decision we did make, robbing us of enjoying it in any way.

But, there’s a more important thing that we do to ourselves whenever we stand in indecision: we reinforce our own self-doubt and deepen the distrust we have in ourselves a little more.  We do this because we stop listening to what we want and start listening instead to what others may want. Mom doesn’t like jaw breakers because they can break my teeth, so even though I really want the jaw breaker, I’m thinking of what my mother wants and how she will be disappointed in me.

This indecision means I’m not listening to myself, that I’m ignoring my own wishes. And the more I do it, the more faint that inner knowing becomes. And the less I am able to trust myself.

A wise man once said that we are free to choose anything at all, as long as we’re willing to accept the results of our choice.  If I could have accepted that my mother might have been disappointed, then I could also be free to really enjoy that jaw breaker.

Be Choosy about Choosing

 

 

Quote of the Week 

“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”

-Moses Maimonides

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.

 

Jaw breaker or licorice

 

Jaw breaker or licorice – I have to decide. I’m frozen on the spot … jaw breaker or licorice. Once I decide, my hard-earned 25 cents will be a thing of the past.

My sister refuses to accompany me to the corner store any longer, because standing there with me in my frozen state is just too unbearable.

That’s my earliest memory of indecision. Happily, it’s no longer a problem. But honestly, it took way too long to let it go.

When it was a problem, the dilemma was always around the possibility of making the wrong decision and regretting what I’d done. The turned down job, the loved one I chose to leave, the city or county I moved away from. For anyone who has experienced this feeling, every decision we make and act on sets us down a path, and by doing so, limits the possibility of experiencing some different, possibly better, path.

We won’t ever know now … we tell ourselves. And right away, feel regret for the decision we did make, robbing us of enjoying it in any way.

But, there’s a more important thing that we do to ourselves whenever we stand in indecision: we reinforce our own self-doubt and deepen the distrust we have in ourselves a little more.  We do this because we stop listening to what we want and start listening instead to what others may want. Mom doesn’t like jaw breakers because they can break my teeth, so even though I really want the jaw breaker, I’m thinking of what my mother wants and how she will be disappointed in me.

This indecision means I’m not listening to myself, that I’m ignoring my own wishes. And the more I do it, the more faint that inner knowing becomes. And the less I am able to trust myself.

A wise man once said that we are free to choose anything at all, as long as we’re willing to accept the results of our choice.  If I could have accepted that my mother might have been disappointed, then I could also be free to really enjoy that jaw breaker.

 

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here. If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co 

The story we tell ourselves

 

I’m a worrier. That means that I have the ability to worry myself into building something small into something big in my head, and then believing it as true, or at least truer than anything else.

For instance, just as a wild example, let’s say my kitchen tap starts to leak. After changing washers, it continued to leak – not very badly, but still there. If I let myself, I could begin to wonder how bad that leak could get, and under what conditions it might cause major problems – say, something gets stuck somewhere that causes a build-up in pressure; then I decide to go away for 3 weeks, and just in that time, it blows. By the time I get home, there’s major damage.

That could happen, but it’s really very unlikely. And yet, dwelling on this worst-case scenario has turned it, in my mind, from tiny and remote, to huge and probable.

I no longer worry like that, but I know a lot of us do, especially in these uncertain times. And there’s reason for it: while I’m worrying about that tap blowing, I don’t have time to dwell on things I’d rather not think about. It keeps that busy mind of mine occupied, and in a kind of weird way, entertained.

It’s a story I tell myself.

Here’s a different story: The tap begins to leak. I fix it and it still leaks. I call the plumber, and he installs a new tap.  End of problem.

In the first story, I’m kind of helpless in the face of things happening beyond my control. In the second, I’m the one in control. I like the second story better. Less drama, though.

We are the stories we tell ourselves

 

Quote of the Week 

Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves….”
― Cheryl Strayed

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 story we tell ourselves

 

I’m a worrier. That means that I have the ability to worry myself into building something small into something big in my head, and then believing it as true, or at least truer than anything else.

For instance, just as a wild example, let’s say my kitchen tap starts to leak. After changing washers, it continued to leak – not very badly, but still there. If I let myself, I could begin to wonder how bad that leak could get, and under what conditions it might cause major problems – say, something gets stuck somewhere that causes a build-up in pressure; then I decide to go away for 3 weeks, and just in that time, it blows. By the time I get home, there’s major damage.

That could happen, but it’s really very unlikely. And yet, dwelling on this worst-case scenario has turned it, in my mind, from tiny and remote, to huge and probable.

I no longer worry like that, but I know a lot of us do, especially in these uncertain times. And there’s reason for it: while I’m worrying about that tap blowing, I don’t have time to dwell on things I’d rather not think about. It keeps that busy mind of mine occupied, and in a kind of weird way, entertained.

It’s a story I tell myself.

Here’s a different story: The tap begins to leak. I fix it and it still leaks. I call the plumber, and he installs a new tap.  End of problem.

In the first story, I’m kind of helpless in the face of things happening beyond my control. In the second, I’m the one in control. I like the second story better. Less drama, though.

 

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 

How love is made … and made again

 

It’s been several months, many weeks and days, of living closely with our loved ones.  For some, too closely, which may lead to seemingly baseless arguments, and a powerful desire to be alone.

Some couples have, by being aware of this dynamic, found ways to distance themselves, only coming together at dinner time and weekends. They’ve managed to find an extra space somewhere away from their partner for that purpose – it may only be their car, or the garage.

It serves the purpose. Sometimes, though, even this isn’t enough. If you’re one of these people, a day will come when you find you are highly sensitive and allow your inner dialogue to take over, leading eventually to flare-ups and hurt feelings.

It might help to remember that this kind of thing is normal during unbalanced times, which these certainly are – I hope you can forgive yourself and move on. A teacher I know calls it “emotional shock”. Our world has been turned on its head; most of us – at least in the western world – have never experienced deprivation and personal restrictions the way we do now. I remember my parents and grandparents speaking of the 2 world wars and the great depression. I’m from the mid-west, where the centre of North America turned into a giant desert. My grandsires lived through those times. I heard the stories, and I thought I understood them.

But I didn’t understand them because I’d never experienced them … and there’s no substitute for experience. In truth the deprivation we’re currently experiencing pales in comparison to what they went through. And yet, it helps me understand much more how important it is to meet the challenges it brings us – especially with my closest relationships.

How can I continue to honor the needs of both myself and my loved ones? How can I continue to meet the restrictions placed on me with creativity and optimism? How can I meet this latest challenge and see it as a way of growing and deepening my most important relationships?

Maintaining our relationships means growing them, because otherwise they become stagnant. Open heart, willingness to forgive, and continued hope – these qualities can help us negotiate whatever comes up.

Love is made… and made again. Every time we meet what life hands us, with hope and maturity.

A better way to talk about love

 

Quote of the Week 

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”
― Ursula K Le Guin

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.

How love is made … and made again

 

It’s been several months, many weeks and days, of living closely with our loved ones.  For some, too closely, which may lead to seemingly baseless arguments, and a powerful desire to be alone.

Some couples have, by being aware of this dynamic, found ways to distance themselves, only coming together at dinner time and weekends. They’ve managed to find an extra space somewhere away from their partner for that purpose – it may only be their car, or the garage.

It serves the purpose. Sometimes, though, even this isn’t enough. If you’re one of these people, a day will come when you find you are highly sensitive and allow your inner dialogue to take over, leading eventually to flare-ups and hurt feelings.

It might help to remember that this kind of thing is normal during unbalanced times, which these certainly are – I hope you can forgive yourself and move on. A teacher I know calls it “emotional shock”. Our world has been turned on its head; most of us – at least in the western world – have never experienced deprivation and personal restrictions the way we do now. I remember my parents and grandparents speaking of the 2 world wars and the great depression. I’m from the mid-west, where the centre of North America turned into a giant desert. My grandsires lived through those times. I heard the stories, and I thought I understood them.

But I didn’t understand them because I’d never experienced them … and there’s no substitute for experience. In truth the deprivation we’re currently experiencing pales in comparison to what they went through. And yet, it helps me understand much more how important it is to meet the challenges it brings us – especially with my closest relationships.

How can I continue to honor the needs of both myself and my loved ones? How can I continue to meet the restrictions placed on me with creativity and optimism? How can I meet this latest challenge and see it as a way of growing and deepening my most important relationships?

Maintaining our relationships means growing them, because otherwise they become stagnant. Open heart, willingness to forgive, and continued hope – these qualities can help us negotiate whatever comes up.

Love is made… and made again. Every time we meet what life hands us, with hope and maturity.

 

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 

Social Distancing and Affection

Our choices determine our destiny.” A man called Alfonzo Bernard said this, and has influenced thousands of people with his words. He’s currently pastor of a Christian congregation in Brooklyn NY. I came across his name as I was listening to one of those people he influenced, and discovered his influence on me with what he said about distance in human relationships – so apropos for us all today.

In one of his many Youtube videos, he talked about the principles of life. The one that really grabbed my attention is this: The life principle that governs distance in human relationships is not in miles but in affection. Two people can be together and miles apart (we’ve all experienced this), or on opposite sides of the planet and affectionately close. We use affection to create distance by withdrawing affection. In reconciliation, we give our affection.

I am very sure there isn’t anyone who is reading this blog who doesn’t have personal experiences that speak to how we distance – it’s on all our minds. The prolonged need for us to remain physically distant from many and not distant from a few, if any, is causing both anxiety and depression. How we deal with this latest challenge can have long-term consequences – good and bad.

In my own life, I’ve lived and worked beside people I chose to dislike, shutting myself off from my own vulnerability and their humanity. Conversely, I have close friends who are countries away – including my husband – who I look forward to connecting with online because their lives mean a lot to me. I’ve withdrawn affection and, when I finally realize I’m shutting down and shutting out, I begin to close the distance by reaching out, human to human.

Today and for a while yet, the only people we can be physically close to are those we live with. We may find ourselves wanting – needing to – create more distance. It’s difficult – having to be physically close over long periods of time, with no reprieve. I’ve met many people who have come up with creative ways of making this happen; from taking scheduled solitary walks, to using their car as an extra “room” away from everyone, to finding an abandoned space they can retreat to. And I’ve met many people who have learned the value of being vulnerable over long distances, and the value of ensuring their long-distance loved ones remain safe.

How are you choosing to live today with social distancing that will inform your destiny tomorrow?

The hidden influence of social networking

 

Quote of the Week 

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” 
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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.

Social Distancing and Affection

“Our choices determine our destiny.” A man called Alfonzo Bernard said this, and has influenced thousands of people with his words. He’s currently pastor of a Christian congregation in Brooklyn NY. I came across his name as I was listening to one of those people he influenced, and discovered his influence on me with what he said about distance in human relationships – so apropos for us all today.

In one of his many Youtube videos, he talked about the principles of life. The one that really grabbed my attention is this: The life principle that governs distance in human relationships is not in miles but in affection. Two people can be together and miles apart (we’ve all experienced this), or on opposite sides of the planet and affectionately close. We use affection to create distance by withdrawing affection. In reconciliation, we give our affection.

I am very sure there isn’t anyone who is reading this blog who doesn’t have personal experiences that speak to how we distance – it’s on all our minds. The prolonged need for us to remain physically distant from many and not distant from a few, if any, is causing both anxiety and depression. How we deal with this latest challenge can have long-term consequences – good and bad.

In my own life, I’ve lived and worked beside people I chose to dislike, shutting myself off from my own vulnerability and their humanity. Conversely, I have close friends who are countries away – including my husband – who I look forward to connecting with online because their lives mean a lot to me. I’ve withdrawn affection and, when I finally realize I’m shutting down and shutting out, I begin to close the distance by reaching out, human to human.

Today and for a while yet, the only people we can be physically close to are those we live with. We may find ourselves wanting – needing to – create more distance. It’s difficult – having to be physically close over long periods of time, with no reprieve. I’ve met many people who have come up with creative ways of making this happen; from taking scheduled solitary walks, to using their car as an extra “room” away from everyone, to finding an abandoned space they can retreat to. And I’ve met many people who have learned the value of being vulnerable over long distances, and the value of ensuring their long-distance loved ones remain safe.

How are you choosing to live today with social distancing that will inform your destiny 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 

Quality in difficult times!

I read a blog about 2 months ago that looked at the excuses we all make when we rationalize doing less than great work for someone (or ourselves) – because he or she is too demanding… because this isn’t really our job … because I’m having a bad day.

Well, these days of pandemic lockdown, every day can be a bad day, and it is so very tempting to turn on the TV and stay in front of it for as long as possible, feeling helpless and controlled, over-restricted and deprived. All of us have these kinds of days in the best of times. And the reality of today is not the best of times for anyone.

Today, I had what began as a difficult meeting online. At the end of it, I’d planned on going for my (now) daily jog. But instead, I was really tempted to “take the day off”, simply chill out and forget about this blog and the studying (an opportunity I’ve picked up, given I’ve got more time). Only do what was absolutely necessary and let go of everything else.

Every once in a while, it’s OK to do just that. However, if I do it too much, it becomes a habit and I can end up missing days of living a life that makes me feel good about myself.  Those days that make me feel good are the days I do quality work, either for myself or for others.

There are basically 2 kinds of things we can do that make us feel good: things that give us pleasure, and things that give us mastery. Things that give us pleasure might occasionally include watching TV and taking a break, but they will stop giving us pleasure if that’s all we do.

The things that will always give us pleasure are those things we feel we’ve earned – a long hot bath after finishing a project, or sharing a glass of wine, or being with a loved one, or going for a leisurely walk after finishing something that needed finishing. The things that give us mastery could be learning a new skill. It might be paying a bill, or cutting your bangs, or going for a jog, or writing a blog. Doing it well – with quality.

These 2 activities often, as you can see, go hand in hand. Quality work à earned pleasure.  Even if all you can do that day is one piece of quality mastery for 10 or 15 minutes, rewarding yourself with one small pleasure, it makes the whole day feel worthwhile. It might also make you feel good enough about yourself to go to bed looking forward to tomorrow.  Even more importantly, it’ll help you do a better, more quality job on the things you need to do today, because there won’t be anything at the back of your mind distracting you.

Now for that jog.

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