Archive: Newsletter

Winning the Lottery

 

My partner and I have an ongoing joke that goes something like this: “When and if we get the funds, we should do X, Y, or Z”. It might be painting the house, or getting a desired medical elective treatment, or going on a long trip.  It could be anything we want to do and can’t at the moment, because we don’t have the funds to do it, just yet.

One of us almost always adds: “When you win the lottery …”. Always the other person. Always implying that we might never get those desired funds without what amounts to Divine Intervention.

Yes, someone does indeed eventually win the lottery. But given there are millions of others playing with you, and that there are millions of combinations of numbers to choose, it’s so unlikely that you’ll win that it gets close to amounting to Divine Intervention.

And yet, there is a tiny voice inside me that says: “I have as much chance as anybody. It has to be my turn now!”

As if there are ‘turns’, and that there is a universal ‘fairness’ that lets everyone win at least once. Even so, practically all of us (well, millions of us) automatically focus on the possibility of winning instead of the probability of losing, forgetting that it is a remote possibility against an almost certain probability.

It seems we are all optimists – and that is a really good thing. But what I’m also advocating is the injection of a certain amount of down-to-earthiness: if I even unconsciously count on getting a large amount of money to solve my financial woes, then I might spend as if that is imminently true. However, if I count only on what I know to be true – like, what I’m actually earning right now – then I’ll be a lot more frugal … and stand a bigger chance of having what I really need when I really need it.

Winning the lottery very likely won’t happen for us; winning in life can be almost certainly probable if we learn to care for ourselves emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically – including financially.

This blog is as much a reminder to myself as it is for anyone else. I hope it helps.

Would winning the lottery make you happier?

 

Quote of the Week

Life is a lottery that we’ve already won. But most people have not cashed in their tickets.”
― Louise L. Hay

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.

 

 

Living in abundance

 

This is a spin-off from Seth Godin’s blog Living in surplus. He compares living in deficit to living in surplus.  Another term for deficit is scarcity; and another term for surplus is abundance. I think in terms of scarcity and abundance.

Lots of us live in scarcity. Hording what you have in case you run out and can’t get more. Jamming too much into the day so that you’re running from one thing to the next. Focusing on being better than your neighbor for a position that seems rare to you.

Whether you really can’t get more of something if you run out, or believe that everything must be done today, or that that position you covet is as rare as you think, the attitude of scarcity keeps you in stress.

What if you tried to believe the opposite – that there is plenty of whatever you need; that only a few things really need doing immediately, and that whatever position you desire is there – in a form made just for you – whenever you’re ready to grab it.

More or less real than scarcity?  If more real, then the stress you’re putting yourself through every day is wasted.  If as real, then switching to an attitude of abundance won’t change things either way, but will make you less stressed – so that you can handle the day better. And for that reason, if less real, choosing the attitude of abundance just might even the odds.

Worth trying? I think so!

Abundance is our future

 

Quote of the Week
“Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.”
― Steve Maraboli

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.

 

 

Plan for the worst, expect the best

I often come up with ideas to write about in batches. Those ideas sustain my ability to write a blog a week for sometimes several months.  The idea for this blog came to me after an especially difficult set of events where I was completing a series of tests, each of which carried a long list of requirements. It was really challenging, especially that last one; and it was the above mantra that saw me through: Plan for the worst, expect the best.

That mantra helped me because when things get especially difficult, I often find myself thinking the opposite: Plan for the best, expect the worst. I would buoy myself up by fantasies that everything was fine and then, just as often, things wouldn’t go well, ending my day with the thought “How did this happen again!”. I actually expected the worst, even though I’d planned for the best.

That kind of thinking is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The saying in therapy is, for something to change, do something – anything – different.  I began to put my imagination to better use than staying in fantasy: I began to imagine what winning would look like; and that led me to the realization that in order to win, I had to be prepared for anything.

Now I expect to win, which means I come prepared for anything.

The surprising science of happiness

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 .

 

Making much about nothing

 

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You have a goal in mind – something you want to accomplish by the end of the week, because you have other goals in mind that depend on accomplishing this particular task. But it means getting the cooperation, time and effort of others, without which that goal is not possible. Well, that’s worrying! Having to depend on the good will and cooperation of others! I don’t know about you, but it makes my stomach double in on itself: I immediately and automatically begin to think of all the things that might go wrong, that I have to cover somehow. It doesn’t take long before I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted … without having made a single move towards getting the task done.

If it isn’t familiar to you at a personal level, then you have heard about it. There are books, papers, clichés, even movies made about this single thing: making much about nothing.

Self-fulfilling prophecy, building a mountain out of a molehill are 2 of those clichés. I still do it  – make something out of almost nothing – far too often. If I don’t snap myself out of it, I could end up making my fears come true. At the least, I might miss the opportunity I had, living instead in fear of something I’ve imagined.

It’s a mind game. I know it’s a mind game. And yet it happens again and again.  I really want to know how I can stop it, and move instead in a different and better direction. Even though it still happens to me, it doesn’t happen with the frequency or intensity that it once had. I’ve found a way of regaining control over my anxieties of future worrying possibilities. Here’s what I do:

  • Feel it. I’ve learned to know what it physically feels like to go into worry and “what if’s”: a body awareness that is unique to each of us, and that tells me when I’m going down that particular trail. For me it’s my stomach, and a clenching in my upper chest behind my breast bone.  When I feel this sensation, I gain a valuable awareness that I’m about to do something that will cause me pain.
  • Stop it. There’s one thing I know with certainty about going down that road: it’s a waste of time and will generate nothing good. So the best thing I can do is to stop the progression in its tracks. There are probably many ways to stop yourself: I do it by saying (shouting, in fact) “Stop it!”, or “Don’t go there! It’s useless.” That works for me; it gives me a breather. It gives me a few seconds to go down a different path: one of my choosing.
  • Change it. That other path is something I’ve built up for years, refining and reinforcing it over and over, until it’s smooth, stable, steady – able to carry heavy loads. A major throughway – autobahn – in my mind. Without that road, all I have is a void – a hole – that I don’t trust and that makes me nervous.  I need to replace that hole with a new path, then reinforce that new path until it is at least as well constructed as the old one. It’s called building a new habit. It takes time and persistence. At first, it’s astonishingly hard, but over time, it gets easier.  My way is to take a big breath, then bring out of hiding the fear that is always at the root of my worry. It calms me, and gives me the energy I need to do something truly constructive.

Feel it. Stop it. Change it. Making something about something, instead of much about nothing.

The 4 AM Mystery

 

Quote of the Week 

I love to talk about nothing. It’s the only thing I know anything about.”
― Oscar Wilde

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters 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 .

Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head

“Don’t stand up when they’re shooting over your head.”

An old saying, no doubt, but one I’ve only recently noticed.  Why? Because I’ve finally learned not to stand up… when they’re shooting over my head.

I’m not alone in this, having recently witnessed someone asking for an experience she was especially meant to fail miserably in.

I weep silently for her.

There was a time – a time when I had no inkling of what I did to create the situation – when I’d ask: “Do I have a sign on my forehead that says ‘aim here’?” The answer is “No”; there is no sign. People don’t search me out and then when they find me, aim and fire.  What really happens is, while there may be people out there looking for a scapegoat, I oblige them by detecting that search, and then doing something that directs their focus at me.

Finally, I got it. Finally, I no longer do that. Finally, I’m no longer a potential scapegoat.

If you find yourself doing what I’ve done for so long, it may be time to find a new way of being tough, or being strong, or being the one who takes it on the chin for everyone else.

Take “the other” to lunch

 

Quote of the Week 

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.

I don’t matter as much as … ?

 

Most of us have unconscious go-to’s that ultimately hurt us. We have them because they helped us cope in difficult situations when we were much younger. Even if, as adults, we know they’re untrue and unhelpful, we can end up finding ourselves going down that road countless times.

My unconscious go-to is “I don’t matter as much as …”. As you, or my neighbor, or someone I know nothing about.  I don’t always find myself going there, but when I’m unsure of what I’m doing, or don’t know my surroundings, it’s pretty easy for me to begin to go down that familiar path.

I know I matter as much as everyone else. I know intellectually that I matter more than others to those who care about me.  And yet I can hear that familiar lament inside, and feel it in my body at times, and it never takes me to a place I want to be.

The way I tackle it is through persistence:

  • Recognizing the feeling, then stopping it immediately. I know it’s false, that it comes from a place of feeling wounded and uncertain, and that allowing that particular tape to play isn’t useful.
  • Replacing it with something that’s true. There are many things to choose from such as; “I do, in fact, matter”, “ I matter as much as any other living being. I’m a part of the universe.”, “I matter!”. If I’m with someone who truly feels that I don’t matter as much, it may be that it’s time to be with someone else.

The old story has been played many times. It only stands to reason that the new one will take a while to replace it.

You matter

Quote of the Week 

Every woman that finally figured out her worth, has picked up her suitcases of pride and boarded a flight to freedom, which landed in the valley of change.”
― Shannon L. Alder

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters 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 .

 

Broken? Or broken open?

 

I got a chance to do something I’ve been working towards for a long time. I was planning on doing this in September, but discover I have only a week to prepare. I work like mad getting everything ready, because I know that the one thing that is required for a chance at succeeding, for me, is preparation.

I get the chance, but fail. I fail because I accepted something that was simply too much for me to handle in so short a time. The issue wasn’t the work. The issue was my reluctance to accept the facts when the facts don’t “fit” with what I want.

This scenario has occurred with me a number of times. I end up feeling like Charlie tricking myself into going for Lucy’s disappearing football once again.

It brings me down. Every time. Until the last time, when I reached a point of losing everything I’d worked for – again (I’ve been in that situation before as well). This time, I did something completely different, and managed to alter my approach to the point of identifying the facts and not ignoring them.

May seem obvious, and intellectually it is. But what it took before I could change the pattern was first, to break, and then to break open.

In 12-step programs, they call this “reaching your bottom”. A necessary step to birthing something new.

The Opportunity of Adversity

 

Quote of the Week

If we do not suffer a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. Rather, it will fester, and we will experience its sorrow later, in stranger forms.”
― Elizabeth Lesser

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.

I’m disappointed in you … or maybe not

 

There was a misunderstanding. Over a word. I assumed it meant one thing; she assumed it meant another.  It wasn’t until the work we were doing together was much further along that we discovered this misunderstanding. Before she “got” the real issue, she said to me “I’m disappointed in you”, because she thought I hadn’t heard her, or hadn’t followed through somehow.

When I find myself saying this to another person, it almost always ends up being me I’m disappointed with. I ran through an explanation that needed more time than I gave it for a clear understanding; or I allowed my ideas and desires to take me out of reality, only to be brought up short when reality actualized.

Then, instead of feeling the pain of what my actions or approach caused, I turn to the other, externalizing my self-disappointment. Disowning it.

It doesn’t really work: I don’t feel better – even temporarily. In fact I feel worse, because if it’s someone else’s issue, I can’t do anything about it. I feel powerless.

The best thing to do when you feel that sense of disappointment in someone else? Use it as a helpful beacon and turn it on yourself, discovering what you were assuming, or missed. So that next time, disappointment isn’t there.

What I learned from 100 days of rejection

Quote of the Week 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You

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.

Waking up

 

I want my business to be really successful. I want the relationship I have with my partner to be fulfilling and loving. I want my family and friends to be happy and feel fulfilled in their lives. I want good health for myself and my friends and family.

I want so much. I want it all! Don’t you?

My mother’s favorite command to me growing up was “Maryanne, come down to earth!” Until many years later, I honestly didn’t see the problem with never “coming down to earth”. It felt so good – dreaming, planning, seeing all the possibilities.

Until many years later, I didn’t really see that none of those dreams and plans and visions I held so dearly had a hope of becoming real unless … . Unless I woke up to reality – to the actual situation I happened to be in, to my own life circumstances, to my responsibilities. Until I seriously considered  all the variables – my hopes and desires – Yes! – and also my own limitations and the limitations of the situation.

When I finally woke up, I began to modify my plans to include what was doable for me at that time. I stopped jamming in as much as I thought I could do, instead focusing on one small chunk at a time, and developing from that more realistic timelines and goals.

When I finally woke up, I started to relax, to regain my health, and to enjoy the world around me.

What about you? Are you a dreamer like me?

Embracing our limitations

Quote of the Week

Beyond living and dreaming there is something more important: waking up.”
― Antonio Machado

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”.

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.