Archive: Meditation and Mindfulness

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

The gift and power of emotional courage

 

Quote of the Week 

Problem is, the bathroom pass can’t help you escape life. It’s still there when you come out. Problems and crap don’t go away hiding in the can.”
― Simone Elkeles, Perfect Chemistry

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.

 

Avoiding

Hands up if you avoid experiences you think, or fear, will be difficult.  Both of my hands are up.

It may be the season – Fall is the season of change – or it may be that Mercury was in retrograde and the full moon only a day behind it – or it may simply be coincidence that I’ve noticed a lot of difficult encounters lately.  I’ve been involved in difficult encounters, and my friends have been in them too.

No matter what the wise men and women and gurus say about the growth potential of difficult encounters, I would rather not experience them. And yet, when I do, and when I hang in there, growth does happen. Then, when I look back on the event later on (sometimes much later on), it usually doesn’t seem as bad as I’d feared. Even more, I tend to remember the good things that happened around it, like deepening friendships and breaking open a personal closed door.

An article in Psychology Today, August 2019, How bad could it be?, looked at research on our tendency to avoid.  They discovered that sometimes people avoid difficult experiences because they misjudge how they will feel. For those who must impart negative information to a friend, it’s hard because they fear causing harm, or in being harmed.

Research, however, shows that the recipients of bad news don’t tend to react as negatively as we fear and anticipate. Even if a person is accurate in predicting how they will feel, they are most often out on how long it will last, and on the impact it will have on others.

What’s missing in our prediction? It may be that the experience is more than simply those moments of discomfort. That’s what I’m discovering – the personal growth, the excitement of getting through something hard, and the deepening friendships.

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 .

 

Changing seasons – seasons of change

It’s November again. Height of the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. A changing of seasons from the heat of Summer to cool air and falling leaves.

A season of change, when we harvest what’s grown, celebrating that harvest.  Ever-changing weather. Switching over in how we live – business, study, hobbies, interests.  These changes – physical and mental / emotional – are interconnected in one direction, where the change in seasons changes our ways of being.

Change is inherently scary. Some of us say we love change…. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. And even if we love it, we still need some down time to stay steady and stable.  We as humans, are creatures of habit, and habit is not about change, unless it’s about building a new habit.

Change is life! It’s movement. It’s growth. When we make a change that’s important to us, we feel alive and vital, and this makes the change that might have scared us all worthwhile.

I invite you, therefore, to consider what is changing in your world this season, and how it impacts you. How you might use that change to up your level of joy, at least a notch.

Change your story … change your life

 

Quote of the Week 

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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.

 

Changing seasons – seasons of change

It’s November again. Height of the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere. A changing of seasons from the heat of Summer to cool air and falling leaves.

A season of change, when we harvest what’s grown, celebrating that harvest.  Ever-changing weather. Switching over in how we live – business, study, hobbies, interests.  These changes – physical and mental / emotional – are interconnected in one direction, where the change in seasons changes our ways of being.

Change is inherently scary. Some of us say we love change…. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. And even if we love it, we still need some down time to stay steady and stable.  We as humans, are creatures of habit, and habit is not about change, unless it’s about building a new habit.

Change is life! It’s movement. It’s growth. When we make a change that’s important to us, we feel alive and vital, and this makes the change that might have scared us all worthwhile.

I invite you, therefore, to consider what is changing in your world this season, and how it impacts you. How you might use that change to up your level of joy, at least a notch.

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 .

 

Keep well the road

Keep well the road.  – a friend’s high school motto. She thinks of it every time she feels she must “keep on trekking” when things get hard. It’s an odd way to say it, and yet brings up so many things precisely because of that oddness…

Keep your road well maintained, clean of potholes, debris, banana peels and so on. Make it as easy to traverse as possible, so that when the unexpected happens, or some un-looked-for opportunity suddenly looms before you, you are well supported to see it and take it.

Make the road sturdy and able to carry any traffic that may use it without failing. Have a base of solid stability that you can count on wherever your road takes you.

Know the road you’re on very well. Know it well enough that you can sense at any time where you are on it, so that when you stray from it, you can feel it and make the change necessary to keep well on it.

Choose the road that speaks to your heart and soul, so that you are the road, and the road is you.

Or ???.

How skateboarding defined this person’s path

Quote of the Week

There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.
― Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana

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.

Keep well the road

Keep well the road.  – a friend’s high school motto. She thinks of it every time she feels she must “keep on trekking” when things get hard. It’s an odd way to say it, and yet brings up so many things precisely because of that oddness…

Keep your road well maintained, clean of potholes, debris, banana peels and so on. Make it as easy to traverse as possible, so that when the unexpected happens, or some un-looked-for opportunity suddenly looms before you, you are well supported to see it and take it.

Make the road sturdy and able to carry any traffic that may use it without failing. Have a base of solid stability that you can count on wherever your road takes you.

Know the road you’re on very well. Know it well enough that you can sense at any time where you are on it, so that when you stray from it, you can feel it and make the change necessary to keep well on it.

Choose the road that speaks to your heart and soul, so that you are the road, and the road is you.

Or ???.

 

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 Inescapable Impact of our Ancestry

 

In a paper from Jon Blend and Roz Carroll Witnessed Improvised Diaspora Journey Enactments (WIDJE): an experiential method for exploring refugee history, the authors’ interest was on the impact of forced displacement of people from their family and culture. Their focus was on current refugee movements, and on the displacement and loss of family for the Jews from the last World War. Their paper reviews what is known, and then provides a way for displaced peoples to begin to heal and reconnect with their past.

Why is this important? Because whether a person is able to have a connection with their ancestors – both in terms of their blood relations and community – people’s identity is impacted in profound ways.

Becoming separated from our past creates wounds that we protect and pass to our offspring. It prevents us from living fully, or for our children to live fully.

I invite you to consider that almost everyone in the United States and Canada is, to some extent, displaced from their history. Most families and individuals who immigrated to North America did so because they had to, leaving behind their community and families and culture to begin again. The indigenous peoples of North America were forced away from their communities and ways of living – even from their lands – by those same people; thereby losing their birthright.

We all have a birthright to reclaim. Sometimes that means recreating or rebirthing ourselves, sometimes it means retracing our stories (including what we imagine as the stories of our forbearers), and sometimes it means a little of both. By doing so, we reconnect ourselves to our past, and create a positive connection for those who come after us.

There is an indigenous belief that we are influenced by the 7 generations before us, and will influence the 7 generations after us. How do you want to influence everyone that comes after you?

 A family tree of humanity

 

Quote of the Week

We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us..”
― Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas

 

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.

 

 

Intimidation

 

Have you ever felt intimidated? I have: by the appearance of a large stranger in an isolated location; or an aggressive man or woman who talks loudly non-stop; or a teacher whose good opinion I depend on. Those are the kinds of people and situations that intimidate me the most.

Psychology Today looks at this topic in the October 2019 edition.

Sometimes when I’m feeling intimidated I begin to question myself: am I really getting this right? Did I make a mistake? I often automatically suspend judgment, giving myself time to think it over (I believe) before responding. When I do this, I become silent, effectively losing my voice. And this act of voluntary silence only adds to my sense of insecurity.

For many, we were taught as children to be silent. We were taught that adult opinions mean more than our own. Then, when we become adults, instead of shaking our childhood silence off, we carry it with us – as an ingrained habit that does nothing for our own personal sense of power.

What do you do when you feel intimidated? If I’m aware of that feeling, I speak up, because speaking up, no matter how badly it might come out, is a lot better than remaining silent.

It’s risky. I might hurt someone or get hurt. But with practice, I get better at it.

You will too!

(For tools in speaking up, watch the video below)

How to speak up for yourself

Quote of the Week

If you spend all your time thinking about how someone is going to one-up you, you can’t put your best foot forward..”
― Miranda Kenneally, Coming Up for Air

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.

 

 

Intimidation

 

Have you ever felt intimidated? I have: by the appearance of a large stranger in an isolated location; or an aggressive man or woman who talks loudly non-stop; or a teacher whose good opinion I depend on. Those are the kinds of people and situations that intimidate me the most.

Psychology Today looks at this topic in the October 2019 edition.

Sometimes when I’m feeling intimidated I begin to question myself: am I really getting this right? Did I make a mistake? I often automatically suspend judgment, giving myself time to think it over (I believe) before responding. When I do this, I become silent, effectively losing my voice. And this act of voluntary silence only adds to my sense of insecurity.

For many, we were taught as children to be silent. We were taught that adult opinions mean more than our own. Then, when we become adults, instead of shaking our childhood silence off, we carry it with us – as an ingrained habit that does nothing for our own personal sense of power.

What do you do when you feel intimidated? If I’m aware of that feeling, I speak up, because speaking up, no matter how badly it might come out, is a lot better than remaining silent.

It’s risky. I might hurt someone or get hurt. But with practice, I get better at it.
You will too!

(For tools in speaking up, watch the video in my newsletter)

 

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 .

 

 

Addiction

 

That word – addiction – seems to be accumulating more categories and sub-categories these days. 20 years ago (or more), it meant a chemical dependence on a substance, and was limited to drugs (particularly opioids), and alcohol. The dependence was deemed so powerful that the medical world considered addicts close to hopeless.

This was the social and medical atmosphere when Alcoholics Anonymous was founded. It was begun in the hope that alcoholics could help one another. This turned into a kind of movement, inspiring others dependent on drugs, then on cigarettes, food, and relationships to develop similar support groups.

It was during this time that ‘addiction’ took on a broader meaning. Today, we understand it to mean (from Webster): a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.

Many of us have experienced this, or something similar to this, even if we don’t consider ourselves addicts: the need for comfort food, computer games, porn, nail biting, shopping … the list is probably endless, when we need a distraction, feel nervous or anxious or overwhelmed. These kinds of external and often mindless activities give us a momentary comfort. They don’t, however, dissolve the problem, but merely temporarily mask it.

In the October edition of Psychology Today, a doctor talks about his battle with Opiods. He had been in a serious accident, and ended up having to take opiods to relieve his debilitating pain, discovering after taking this drug for a number of months that his body was addicted to them. His story includes the lack of understanding and support in the medical community on how to deal successfully with this. He eventually found a way to stop this dependency. I applaud him for this accomplishment, but throughout the article, I found it more interesting how he differentiated himself from other addicts: that he was dependent purely physically, and not mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

I, personally, don’t believe we can make such a distinction. I don’t believe we know enough on how these different systems in our body interact with each other to do so. I do know that there is a physical component in every addiction, and that it’s our dependence on something external to ourselves that is at least as destructive (for an excellent discussion on this, see the video link below).

In my line of work, dependencies on external substances, activities, and relationships come up constantly. When we are in pain, we tend to reach for the quickest path to some relief, and that is likely going to be something physical. The harder thing is to discover what inside us needs support and development.

External support is wonderful, and sometimes necessary. Long term relief from the ultimate pain of addiction needs more than that if we want to move toward a more permanent change for the better.

 

Everything we know about addiction is wrong

Quote of the Week

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism..”
― Carl Gustav Jung

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.