Archive: Meditation and Mindfulness

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 .

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.

 

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 .

I want to be happy

I really want to be happy! Don’t I? Then why do I find myself doing things that others want but that I don’t want? Why do I keep hurting myself doing things and reaching for goals that ceased to bring me pleasure long ago?

Do I really want to be happy? I do! But I also want fulfillment, and my mid-Western Baptist upbringing has told me all my life that there is no gain without pain. The way my brain extrapolates this is: the more pain, the greater gain.

Of course that extrapolation isn’t true. If it were true, then self-harm would be a virtue. And I don’t believe that. Yet I still find myself unconsciously expecting – and feeling satisfied with – experiencing pain for emotional and spiritual gain. It’s very true that we sometimes need to go through hard times to gain something valuable to us. Building our own business, having a baby, running a marathon. But not always. And not necessarily.

I’ve discovered that when I find myself making things more difficult than they need to be, it’s really because I’m scared that if I don’t add the pain, it will come on its own in a way that I can’t control. So in some form of magical thinking, I deliberately add the pain component – as insurance.

The key to changing that magical thinking is awareness, then changing it bit by bit, tiny step after tiny step, so that one day I wake up to a day that is effortlessly happy.

It does take time and it works.

Why we need pain to feel happiness

Quote of the Week 

The marks humans leave are too often scars.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

 

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 .

 

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 .

I want to be happy

I really want to be happy! Don’t I? Then why do I find myself doing things that others want but that I don’t want? Why do I keep hurting myself doing things and reaching for goals that ceased to bring me pleasure long ago?

Do I really want to be happy? I do! But I also want fulfillment, and my mid-Western Baptist upbringing has told me all my life that there is no gain without pain. The way my brain extrapolates this is: the more pain, the greater gain.

Of course that extrapolation isn’t true. If it were true, then self-harm would be a virtue. And I don’t believe that. Yet I still find myself unconsciously expecting – and feeling satisfied with – experiencing pain for emotional and spiritual gain. It’s very true that we sometimes need to go through hard times to gain something valuable to us. Building our own business, having a baby, running a marathon. But not always. And not necessarily.

I’ve discovered that when I find myself making things more difficult than they need to be, it’s really because I’m scared that if I don’t add the pain, it will come on its own in a way that I can’t control. So in some form of magical thinking, I deliberately add the pain component – as insurance.

The key to changing that magical thinking is awareness, then changing it bit by bit, tiny step after tiny step, so that one day I wake up to a day that is effortlessly happy.

It does take time and it works.

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 .

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

Elizabeth Loftus – the fiction of memory

 

Quote of the Week

Nostalgia has a way of blocking the reality of the past.”
― Shannon L. Alder

 

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.

 

Our Variable Memory

 

About 4 years ago, I was out with friends camping. We had some tools that were available to us all, and were instructed to handle them with care.  About 3 days into being there, the guy responsible for signing out the tools approached me and accused me of mishandling them, saying it had to be me because he’d seen me going over to where they were stored earlier, and that no one else had been there since.

In fact, I hadn’t been there and hadn’t used the tools that day at all. But he was unshakable in his certainty. It wasn’t until the person who had actually been there volunteered to say so that I was off the hook.

It was a dramatic moment – being accused of something I’d never do, from someone who was so certain he was right.

In my family, my mother was notorious for having different memories of the same event at different times. So, I grew up knowing that people can be certain of something that ends up being false.

How can this happen?  According to Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist and specialist in false memories, the key is suggestibility: a false memory is most likely to develop in situations where a person is exposed to suggestive information.

As an example, read this list: sit, write, eat, legs, seat, desk, arm, sofa, wood, cushion, rest, stool. Now count to 30.

Did you spot the word “table”?  If so, you experienced a false memory, because even though the words in the list were associated with “table”, the word “table” wasn’t one of them.

In Apr 2019 Psychology Today – How Memory Became Weaponized – the author argues that our brain is wired to believe what it hears. I’ll add to that our wonderful ability to conceptualize – bringing a number of different things together by recognizing their similarities. This ability of ours is essential for thinking and learning – and it has at least this drawback.

Most of the time, it’s not critical and doesn’t get in our way. But sometimes it does, and sometimes people will deliberately feed us misinformation to steer us in one direction or another.

So, what can you do to arm yourself against such manipulation and mis-direction? Three things.

  1. First, learn to always check the “facts” when determining the truth of something that’s important. Look for supporting evidence, for repeated instances in similar situations. Develop a healthy sense of disbelief.
  2. Second, examine your own motives for wanting to believe something – or not. If your motives are strong enough, it could blind you to what is really true.
  3. Finally, check in with your own inner knowing to see how the information sits with you. Our inner knowing doesn’t have a true/false indicator, but it does have an automatic “feel” that – once we learn to recognize and trust it – provides us with a sum of all our experiences to date, measuring it against what is in front of us at the moment.

It takes a while – sometimes a long while – to learn to trust this inner knowing, but it’ the only way I know of that will lead us a good sense of what’s true.

 

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 .