Archive: Events

You deserve better. Believe it!

believe

If you believe you deserve better, you will create better in yourself.”

This quote, attributed to Dr. Phil McGraw, might strike you as obvious. Or it might seem simplistic. Or pie-in-the-sky – a new age-ism that some people say to themselves in the mirror when they’re feeling especially bad.

In a way, all of those are true. And yet, even though you think you know and support yourself very well – no doubt you do a lot of the time – one day you discover – as I did – that not believing in yourself still keeps leading to self-sabotage, and even failure.

I think it’s a phrase that’s much easier to understand than to fully incorporate into your life.

The biggest way this gets into my face is when I’m about to advertise.  I admit that the thought of advertising makes me cringe inside. Part of this is my upbringing. Another part is my culture. But there is still a small part of me that feels – no matter what the evidence says to the contrary – that I don’t deserve better. That I don’t deserve to advertise my worth. That it’s somehow vulgar and all by itself makes me unworthy.

I compare myself to the worst kind of sales person I can think of instead of the best kind. Then – of course! – I feel crappy about it.

But I deserve better than this! So do you!

It’s not your brain that’s letting you down. It’s your spirit!

The following online program is for you if you’re anxious, over-stressed or burning out. Burning the Candle at Both Ends starts Oct 8th – it’s an interactive program, takes 20 minutes a week, does have homework that’s optional, and has great reviews. Register here.

 

Announcements

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters [link to latest newsletter that’s published in website ] 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 .

You deserve better. Believe it!

If you believe you deserve better, you will create better in yourself.”

This quote, attributed to Dr. Phil McGraw, might strike you as obvious. Or it might seem simplistic. Or pie-in-the-sky – a new age-ism that some people say to themselves in the mirror when they’re feeling especially bad.

In a way, all of those are true. And yet, even though you think you know and support yourself very well – no doubt you do a lot of the time – one day you discover – as I did – that not believing in yourself still keeps leading to self-sabotage, and even failure.

I think it’s a phrase that’s much easier to understand than to fully incorporate into your life.

The biggest way this gets into my face is when I’m about to advertise.  I admit that the thought of advertising makes me cringe inside. Part of this is my upbringing. Another part is my culture. But there is still a small part of me that feels – no matter what the evidence says to the contrary – that I don’t deserve better. That I don’t deserve to advertise my worth. That it’s somehow vulgar and all by itself makes me unworthy.

I compare myself to the worst kind of sales person I can think of instead of the best kind. Then – of course! – I feel crappy about it.

But I deserve better than this! So do you!

Know your worth – and then ask for it

 

Quote of the Week

“I will not try to convince you to love me, to respect me, to commit to me. I deserve better than that; I AM BETTER THAN THAT …”
― Steve Maraboli

Announcement

Blog: In case you missed it, here’s my latest blog.

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.

Sharpen Your Environment Awareness

DPZPTWJ07TAre you really aware of your environment? Most people aren’t. We spend out days in patterns and forming reactive behaviors that we tend to forget about proactive growth.  I once worked with a client who, at the end of her journey, stated ” What you’ve taught me is the realization that it who and what I am seeing, hearing, moving, is what is making the waves in my life. Understanding the why brings me to understanding the how.” I thought this was a beautiful testament to our online work together.

When I speak to groups about sharpening awareness, I tend to focus on the still Room test.  If you think you are qualified right now, in your space, to really understand how your environment impacts your emotions and moods, even recall of history, think again. For most people, we think we have a great grasp on how the world looks and operates. We are like race horses with blinders on. All we see is all we know, yet there is much more going on around us.

Take this simple Still Room test to start understanding what I mean when I reference the phrase ‘sharpening your environment awareness’. Then if you want to learn more, contact me. I can help you on an one-on-one basis (online or in-person) or I can come speak to your group to boost productivity and individual advocacy.

THE STILL ROOM TEST

1. Think about any other room in your home right now other than the one you are sitting in.

2. On a piece of paper write down all the details that you can remember about that room.

3. Now write down three ways that room makes you feel.

4. Write down one memory you have of a sad emotion in the room.

5. Flip the paper over. Walk away from it for at least an hour. Set an alarm if you need to.

6. Without referencing the paper you wrote on, grab another blank piece of paper.

7. Spend 30 minutes sitting in the room picking apart details and thinking about happy and sad memories. Don’t write anything down. If you need to, set an alarm. Really focus on details and don’t have music or any other background distractions on.

8. When the 30 minutes is up, while still in the room, write down one sad memory you have of this room.

9. Now, go compare your current notes with the one you wrote down in Step number four. Is there a difference? Examine how your recall varies from the actual awareness of being present in the now of the room.

 

Benefits of Gestalt Therapy Online

Yes, I provide confidential Gestalt therapy to the online community. I also provide phone and in-person services and yes, I am HIPAA compliant.  Some of you may wonder what exactly the benefits of Gestalt therapy are.  Well, there are many. The effectiveness of the approach depend on your honesty level, personality, and if you feel this type of therapy is a great match for you. Remember, we’re all individuals and you have to work with a trusted therapist and within a comfortable landscape for you.

88

Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls, and Paul Goodman in the 1940s, is an experiential and humanistic form of therapy that was originally designed as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis. Gestalt therapists and their clients use creative and experiential techniques to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction. The word gestalt comes from the German word meaning shape or form, and it references the character or essence of something.

The main benefit of Gestalt therapy is to pull the fragments of your life together, creating an awareness of what works for you, what causes certain behaviors, and how to move forward in a healthy and happy manner that isn’t self-destructive. I believe once you understand your current situation and your reactive behaviors, you can truly learn how to navigate your life to its fullest.  Thus, there are many tools and situations we can use, together, to identify what is working and isn’t working in your present and past life.

If you’re pondering if Gestalt therapy is the right path for you, contact me. Let’s connect and talk about your situation and end-game goals. I have lots of different methods and Gestalt may or may not be the best for your specific situation.

Two Tips for Dissecting Your Dreams At Home.

I had such a great response to my prior blog post on dreams that I thought I would offer everyone some tips to do dream work at home. Now, you have to be careful. When you do dream work from home, without professional guidance, you can unravel some uncomfortable truths about your past, about your present, and about yourself.  If you know there are some painful truths buried, please seek out my services or the services of someone else who youdreams3 feel comfortable with.  Gestalt therapy is about the journey of living, successfully, in the present. Sometimes, however, the journey is a rocky path and there is no shame in seeking support to complete any part of it so you can move forward.

Ok, now to our two exercises. The first one I have dubbed as “The Rewrite Process.” This is where you take a dream and re-write it or tell it to yourself as if it is happening right now. After you do this, turn the paper over so you can’t reference it. Now, write the dream in the past tense- as you can recall it from when you woke up.  Remember, you’re covering the same dream but from two different positions. First, as if it is happening in the moment. Next, as it happened in the past tense and you viewed it from afar.

You want to compare the papers next and see where the differences exist, and there will be differences. Ask yourself how alive you felt in each experience and what emotions you felt in each experience. The results will help you work through what your unconscious mind is trying to tell you about a present situation.

Another exercise that you want to try is considered a “part of me” process. What you want to do is list all the objects you saw in the dream. For example, if you’ve dreamed about Robert Downey Jr. (yes, the actor) making milkshakes and your grandma’s house- you’d write down 1) Robert Downey Jr. 1) Milkshakes 3.) Grandma’s house.  Your next step is to write the phrase “part of me” next to each item.

Next, write down a one to two sentence that puzzled your about the dream. Follow this by writing down why it puzzled you.  Now go back and write down how all the objects in the dream made you feel. Your sentence structure should look something like this, 1. Robert Downey Jr.  Party of me.  Handsome.  2. Milkshakes. Part of me. I don’t like them. 3. Grandma’s House. Part of me. Comforting.  I was puzzled by the dream because I don’t know Robert Downey, Jr. and I don’t like his movies. I felt upset that he was at my grandma’s house.

Once you have the basics down, you should take the time to reflect upon the dream and what you wrote down out loud. If you have to talk to an empty chair or a wall, do so. Spend a good twenty minutes talking through your dreams and your notes.  Identify emotions and how each part of you noted on paper can related to your present day life.

Want to do more intense dream work with my guidance? Let’s talk.

Gestalt therapy and your “ah ha” moment.

I work with many clients, in person or online, who want to understand their present circumstances. After all, the point of Gestalt therapy truly is to be aware of your environment and your current behaviors. The problem I see, however, lies with many people focusing on  trying to become too aware of the details without absorbing the emotions and energies associated with particular situations.

For example, someone may focus on the color of a room’s paint when they should really be responding to how they feel about the room itself. Does the room, maybe even the paint, spark an emotion within and what is the emotion associated with?

a ha moment cover

One exercise you can do at home deals with concentrating on the environment, not the details, to achieve an “ah ha” moment. Here’s how to start. First, you need a pen and a paper. Next, sit yourself in the middle of your bed. Be still. If you can, set your cell phone alarm for three minutes and try to be as still as possible within those three minutes.

Now, write down five things about the three minutes of stillness using “I” phrasing. For example, “I couldn’t stop thinking about a problem at work no matter how hard I tried.” This shows that you’re disassociated from your present because of tension or trouble at work. Or, “I feel tired” is a good one. You can then accept you’re tired in the present moment, which will lead you to examine why you’re tired. Perhaps you woke up early or couldn’t sleep because of a problem you’re currently dealing with.

The key to discovering more “ah ha” moments within your life is to focus more on your feelings and less on the details of your environment. If you focus on what you feel within an environment, you will learn more about being present within it versus recalling décor details.

If you want to explore how to move forward with this exercise, or other techniques, please contact me. I can provide confidential online services to further discuss your specific circumstances.

Dreams and Gestalt Therapy.

Frederick (Fritz) Perls is considered the “father” of Gestalt Therapy. The basic concept of Gestalt Perls believed that unresolved conflicts from the past had a great deal of influence upon present behavior, and that these conflicts needed to be “worked through” (Perls, 1969). Dreams were a cornerstone of this type of therapy because of the dreamsenergy and reference work it provides to help people better understand the present.

When working with myself, my patients often discover just how powerful dreams can be when seeking insight into our day-to-day lives and possible hidden issues that we can’t see within the present.  You see, Fritz Perls felt that dreams were highly symbolic and made extensive use of interpretation and I couldn’t agree more.  I believe dreams are a subjective presentation of the person and that there is a sense of wholeness in every image.  By using dreams as a part of therapy, we can better connect to the meaning of what may be parts of ourselves that are veiled or living within a fantasy during waking life.  The meanings have to be carefully talked about, sometimes even talked through using an empty chair as a “third” party.  And we can always evaluate the idea of the intrapsychic dream landscape.  For example, was that angry dog really someone angry at you or yourself angry at a situation.

Dreams are powerful and there are many ways to decipher what they do and do not mean. I tend to believe our unconscious mind is always trying to help our conscious lives by providing clues to not only unraveling what is nagging us, but by presenting options for us to address, work through and then discover how to apply solutions in everyday life.

If you’re just as fascinated by dreams as I, let’s talk. I have plenty more information to provide to you and consultations are always welcomed. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for daily updates on this and other subjects related to Gestalt therapy.

The Unbroken Spirit

gypsy flamenco artistThis Saturday January 25th I will host my workshop “The Unbroken Spirit” in Toronto. It is a gestalt flamenco workshop for stomping out old beliefs that don’t help us so that we can rediscover our own inner truth.

Why flamenco?  Flamenco is about truth and spirit.  It is said to have developed as a result of the Spanish inquisition, when so many people were cast out and down, including Moors, Jews, Gypsies, and dispossessed Christians.  These diverse peoples escaped to largely uninhabited mountain regions, creating their own community.  Flamenco is thought to come from two Arabic words meaning “Fugitive peasant”, and came to be the song, music and dance of these people.  The songs were at that time often about suffering and death, expressed with passion and conviction.  In doing so, it strengthened the people, and they endured as a result, with their own beliefs in tact.

Flamenco is, as Esmeralda Enriques states it, an expression of contrasts – of strength and personal power and vulnerability.  Everything about it expresses and encourages the expression of our own truth in who we are.  It is, therefore, the perfect vehicle for stomping out old beliefs and rediscovering who we really are.

Guitarist Nuno Ribeiro, passionate lover of flamenco, will be there to accompany us on his guitar as we dance, and Esmeralda Enriques, whose dedication to flamenco is surpassed only by her knowledge of the culture of flamenco and her own dance, will guide us through the final transformation.

For more information about this workshop and how to register, visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co.

 Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

La Guitarra

Gypsy Guitar Player, by Marvin Steel

Gypsy Guitar Player, by Marvin Steel

Last week I wrote about genius and duende.  This week I want to give a poetic instance of this in Federico Garcia Lorca’s poem “La Guitarra”.  One english translation from D. E. Pohren’s book “The Art of Flamenco”, is

The cry

of the guitar begins.

The crystals of dawn

shatter.

The wail

of the guitar begins.

It is useless to silence it.

It is impossible

to silence it.

It cries monotonously

like water cries,

like wind cries

over frozen peaks.

It is impossible

to silence it.

It bemoans

distant things.

It is the hot Southern sand

craving white camellias.

It is an arrow without destination,

the afternoon without tomorrow.

Here is a beautiful and powerful spanish recital of that powerfully moving stanza … enjoy!

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.  Sign up for her upcoming workshop The Unbroken Spirit, on celebrating our beliefs through Flamenco.

On Genius and Duende

spark of enlightenmentOn January 25th I am hosting a workshop called The Unbroken Spirit.  It is a workshop designed to explore our beliefs and make them our own through dance, specifically through Flamenco.  I will say more about this workshop, and about flamenco, throughout January.  Today I want to focus on the concept of spark of genius, and a related Spanish concept, duende.

“I’m a looser!”  “I am never going to get this!”  “I guess I’m just not cut out for this.”
Sound familiar; this feeling of utter misery and dejection?  This belief that I am not going to realize my dreams because I’m just not good enough, or smart enough, or … ?
What if what I realize in my life isn’t entirely about me or because of me?  That I personally contribute something to my dreams, and fate – the universe – contributes the rest.  What if all I have to do is show up (as Woody Allen says) and be ready?  The Greeks and Romans thought so.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love speaks of the idea of the external genius – or genie – that periodically visits us mortals in her TED talk On Genius. She begins by speaking of the anguish that every creative person goes through in trying to capture those moments of creativity that move us.  If we believe that we should be able to capture those moments on demand or at will, this can make us truly miserable.  But on the other hand, if we see them as gifts  that enlighten and delight, that turn on a light within us, then our misery disappears.  It is the difference between “having” a genius and “being” a genius.
 
We can think of this as a source of divine inspiration that comes into our lives from time to time and leads us to great and wonderful creativity.  It is not something we can conjure up or control; it is outside of us.  But when it enters our lives, it enriches us and all those around us.  It is a universal gift.  All we have to do is be open and ready for it when it comes.
 
Elizabeth went on to give an example of a dancer  who, in a rare moment, transcends his or her part and becomes the embodiment of the dance, shining and stopping time, as if “lit up with divinity”.  At these times, the spectators would shout God! God! God!, or Allah! Allah! Allah! in honor and recognition of this rare moment.  When the Moors settled in Spain, this morphed into what we hear now as Ole! Ole! Ole! during bull fights and flamenco.  When a flamenco dancer, singer or guitar player is so inspired, he or she is said to have duende.

Pino - Flamenco in Red

Pino – Flamenco in Red

Duende means having soul, expressing authenticity with passion and with no apology.  In the flamenco world, it is a spirit that temporarily possess us, an essence that shines through us and is more than us.  It begins with our own passions and beliefs that are turned into dance and song and music for the eyes and ears of everyone, expressing the spirit or genius, not of that person, but for all people who are touched by it.
What do you strongly believe in?  What moves you to express through song or dance or music?  Have you ever experienced a moment of genius, or duende? 
Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit http://www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.