Archive: Meditation and Mindfulness

My Mother My Self

The title is from a book I read years ago. I still recommend it to my clients, because from observing myself and my clients over the years, I’m come to appreciate the inevitability of how we are our mothers and fathers, regardless of whether we want that to happen. I was recently reminded of it in a National Geographic article on Iranian nomads (October, 2018).

Nomadic women have hard lives: they traditionally relocate twice a year, living in tents in harsh climates, caring for their family and their flock, risking everything for their family every day.  It’s traditional in these families that, once their husband dies, they are left bereft, receiving no inheritance for all that commitment.

But things will be different for their daughters. There’s world-wide internet and their daughters see alternatives.  As one daughter said (encouraged by her mother) “Why should I make my life miserable? Like yours.”

I don’t blame her. But that isn’t what struck me as I read it.  What struck me is that I said the same thing, and so did many of my female friends.  And so do many of my female clients.

In any culture, if the woman (or man) is forced into a life they don’t want and that makes them miserable, their daughters (or sons) notice. And this is a powerful motivator behind doing something different with their lives.

Pico Iyer – Where is Home?

 

Quote of the Week

“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child, I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself “ 
– Nancy Friday

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.

Every thought

I get a lot of pleasure out of planning. When I’m planning, I can even visualize what I imagine will happen at a given point. In this way, I can see how everything fits and what the end product will look like.

But, thinking something and doing it isn’t the same thing. What I visualize doesn’t often turn out the way I visualized.

That’s what I usually do when I’m thinking of something I want to happen.  There are also things I anticipate out of fear. Most of the time, I focus on the worst case, to the point that it’s as if it’s a done deal.  This also defines how I function.

Again, what might happen isn’t the same as what actually happens.  Just like my plans, the reality is most times quite different from what I’d imagined.

The way that anticipation and visualization impacts what actually happens is in how we approach the future.  It shapes what we do.

If I think that deep down, I’m worthless or powerless, and that whatever I’m trying to accomplish will end in disaster, then what I do will reflect that: I might not put a lot of effort into what I’m doing. Why put effort into something that’s probably going to fail?

On the other hand, if I believe that I matter, and what I do matters, then I’m a lot more likely to succeed in what I set out to do.

Every thought leads to an action. Let that action take you to the kind of place you want to live in.

Ekhart Tolle – Where do our thoughts come from?

Quote of the Week

“Every word you speak and every thought you think is an affirmation for your future.“ 
– Cheryl Richardson

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.

Make it Real!

real

I’m a dreamer. I have a vision that is powerful enough to move me in the direction I’m on, and keep me there even when things are tough. I want to make a positive difference in my world, and live what I teach. I want to live happy and teach others to live that way. I also have smaller dreams that propel me forward – every-day dreams that are more like plans, and that go towards feeding my big dream.

When I first tried to articulate my dream, I was surprised to discover that it was vague – so vague that is was almost meaningless.  It took me a while of getting inspiration from different sources – my heroes, writers, spiritual leaders – then writing and trying it out, then rewriting and trying it out again and again, before I felt that what I was saying matched my dream.

Before I was a therapist and coach, I was a project manager, working on big projects with a lot of layers and people. I loved putting it all together, beginning with what was wanted at the end, and moving backwards. Filling in the details – first in broad strokes, then in increasingly finer details.

Even today, I have a daily To Do list. Each item on that list, no matter how mundane, moves me towards my big dream. It’s thrilling to me to watch myself make progress and to write “done” beside each task. It actually adds to my daily and overall joy.

Kelly Corrigan said “You have to speak your dream out loud.”  She’s right! By writing it down or speaking it out loud, you begin to make your dream concrete and real.

What’s your dream?

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 certainty of change

 change

Some people always have their eyes on some future or present vision. Others are moved more by people and their community – wanting to help those people in some way. Still others are practical, having their eye on what works and doesn’t work.  You’d think that those moved by vision would be less fearful of change.

If you thought so, you’d be wrong.  All of us fear change, even if it also excites us.  Change always involves stepping into the unfamiliar, and that can be dangerous.  For sure, there will be mistakes, errors of judgment and unexpected roadblocks. It will be loaded with uncertainty.

But change is inevitable. It’s the definition of life. It’s movement and process, growth and discovery.

From Robert Redford – “One of the things that will always be inevitable is change, full of both vague uncertainty and brilliant promise.”

 

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 .

Your Beauty

I’m talking about real beauty – the kind that shines through you no matter what your hair looks like, no matter how much you ate last night or all week, no matter what you’re wearing. I’m talking about that quality that attracts the people you want to attract – that inner spark. That glow.

You have it. It might be hidden – from you and the rest of us. But it’s there.

It might be hidden behind anxiety and worry. Anxiety, worry, preoccupation … these states of mind can block that shining that is uniquely yours from blazing forth.

It’s time to remove that block. And shine.

 

Stress and burnout definitely blocks your shining. I’m offering a program that focuses on what you can learn and use from experiencing stress and burnout. If you’re interested in learning more, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

 

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 .

 

Right-sizing your story

I sat listening to a friend who has gone through what he undramatically called “the worst year of his life”, and then to another friend who had slipped into a deep depression. As their stories unfolded, it seemed that, by telling their story to others who genuinely cared, it helped lift their spirits.

Then I told my story. Although my life seems blessed at the moment, and I’m feeling really good, I’d been carrying around a hurt that I’d dismissed and hidden in some back compartment for at least a year.  It wasn’t until I’d expressed it that it disappeared. I don’t know about you, but what I do when I don’t express my feelings is build them up, eventually creating an entire fantasy reality around an event that has a life of it’s own – hence, it’s ability to hang around for so long.

It could be anything: a perceived slight that I wouldn’t normally interpret that way except when I’m feeling overly sensitive for other reasons. That “slight”, fed only by these heightened sensitivities, will grow; and at some point, unless I address it, will register as something true and real, even though all it is, is my interpretation of something I left uninvestigated.

I’m not saying this is what happened with my friends. I can say it helped them to talk about it. Just as it helped me: it helped me revisit my story – to “right-size” it, bringing it back to something closer to what really happened so long ago, and disconnecting it from that moment of sensitivity.

 

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 .

What’s right in the world?

 world

Climate change, and the resulting increase of floods, fires, droughts and landslides. The damage caused by Tsunamis, eathquakes and volcanic eruptions.  The violence and unrest all over the world.  The ensuing human migration resulting from all this.

And speaking of humans, our burgeoning population explosion and the displacement of other  animal species and ecological diversity.

All of these world-wide events are scary and painful to witness for me, and probably for you as well. It’s distressing and all I want to do is do something – anything – to make a positive change.

But in all of my dwelling on what’s wrong with the world, I don’t notice all the things that are right with it.

Here are some of those things:

  • Life expancy has increased to 71 years of age worldwide
  • 90% of people under 25 around the world can read and write
  • 10% of people around the world live in extreme poverty – down from 90% 200 years ago (one reason being that jobs that used to be only in developed countries are now distributed throughout the world)
  • Even with wars, the rate of death world-wide today is ¼ of what it was before and including Viet Nam
  • 95% of us are less likely to be killed by accidents – like plane or car crashes.

I got these things from Steven Pinker’s book Enlgightenment Now: The case for reason, science, humanism and progress.

It doesn’t mean we aren’t in trouble and there’s nothing to do. What it does mean, for me, is that I can genuinely buoy myself with good news, and approach efforts of bettering what I see is wrong and harmful with more balance.

 

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 .

You look’n at ME?!

This little parrot says it all. So natural. So connected to it’s universe that it un-self-consciously flaunts it’s beauty at us. The parrot has attitude!

You can do that. So can I! We can do it the minute we can let go of the worry, fears and expectations that can drag us down and dull our feathers.

It’s not easy. If it were, it wouldn’t still be such a block. But, it is completely doable.

 

If you’re interested, my online workshop on Burning the Candle at Both Ends can help. It’s is starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in learning about it.

Borders

 

I heard an interesting talk with Luis Alberto Urrea on borders, which he often uses and talks about in his books.  At one point, he compared the different sides of the Berlin Wall to that of the Mexican/US Border wall slowly being erected.

On the Eastern side of the Berlin wall, there were guns, patrols, silence; on the Western side, there was graffiti and human activity.

With the Mexican/US border wall, it’s the reverse: on the Mexican side, there are murals, graffiti, sculptures; there are mariachi bands and ice cream vendors and life.  But on the US side, there are guns, helicopters, patrols, and silence.

At the same time, I’m reading a fantasy novel called Hero of the Ages. The hero is told by a wizened general not to get to know the leaders he plans on conquering, because by doing so, he humanizes them. That’s what crossing borders does.

“Fences make good borders” is true sometimes, and exactly the opposite other times.  Do you know in yourself when that’s so?

 

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 .

Honesty. The Best Medicine

I was listening to a friend tell me her story about losing something on the subway: she’d been tired after a long day and was on the train during rush hour.  It was jam packed … she was lucky to get a seat.  When she got that seat, she put her backpack on the ground between her feet, her groceries on top of her backpack, thinking they’d both be safe, and started looking through her saved messages.

When it came time to get off, she had to grab everything and push her way through the crowd before the doors closed.  It wasn’t till she got home that she realized her groceries weren’t with her.

What happened to them? How did she manage to pick up her backpack and not her groceries? Did someone take them or were they knocked off in the race to the door?

My friend was upset and relieved it wasn’t her backpack. She felt like a fool, realizing she’d taken a chance by not paying attention to her surroundings, and not being ready when the train was approaching her stop.  She was soundly berating herself by the time we talked.

As it turns out, I was a good one for her to call, because I understood everything she said. I understood the exhaustion, the need to disappear into my messages or a book, the sense of shock and imbalance over missing something that should be with me, and then the self-punishment. I even understood her suspicion that someone took the bag, even though there was nothing that expensive in it.

I felt what she felt.

This isn’t always true. Have you ever found yourself comforting a friend over a loss you’ve never had? It’s awkward; you don’t really know what to say, so you end up saying something you know is stupid, like “It’s alright, I understand”.

Well, you don’t really understand, and you know it. But you could imagine what it would be like to have something like that happen to you. You can feel that event, even though it’s imaginary.  We all can – that’s why we love stories and novels and movies about people who have adventures we’ve never had.

I was wondering how I would have responded to my friend if I hadn’t been through her own story, and realized I didn’t have to be. I simply had to be open to imagining it, and letting her know that’s what I was doing.

Honesty. The best medicine.

Understanding is a power to shape the world – Larry Rosen

Quote of the Week
General benevolence, but not general friendship, make a man what he ought to be.
― Jane Austen, Emma

Announcements
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-programsor 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 .