Archive: Newsletter

Our Beautiful Brain

Years ago, the scientific community discovered that our left and right brains function differently. This idea quickly became a favorite of pop psychology – so much so that for many years, scientists wanted little to do with any research involving it.  However, some scientists still loved it. One such scientist is Ian McGilchrist, author of The Master and His Emissary, where he discusses the differences between the two, and the fact that we need both.

What he discovered in his own studies and research is that the 2 sides do not do different things, but do the same things differently. Our left brain focuses on what’s immediately in front of it. It’s the calculator and detail-oriented part.  The right, on the other hand, sees the big picture, and understands connections.

With our right brain, we can appreciate different points of view, be moved by a beautiful sunset, or a beautiful piece of music. With the left brain, we can solve detailed problems.

McGilchrist is also a psychiatrist, and believes that our world prizes primarily left brain functions.  For instance, left brain views are always slightly paranoid because it can never see the big picture. It needs security and predictability. It sees only in black and white. It’s the right brain that can discern nuances, and be open to exploring something that is as yet unpredictable.

Our world could do with more right brain appreciation, and a real appreciation that both our left desire for details and action, and our right need for art and love, are essential for a full and balanced world.

My Stroke of Insight

 

Quote of the Week

The television is ‘real’. It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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.

 

Being manipulated

 

It’s never a good feeling when we discover we’ve been manipulated. Deliberately given partial information, appealing to my sense of guilt or inadequacy, feeling pressured to do something I’d rather not do. These and many other ways happen daily – from advertisements, packaging, and politicians – so much so that we know better than to trust what we’re told. That’s smart, and also sad, because it can turn us into cynics.

Whenever it happens its because the manipulator wants us to do something that helps themselves. It might also help us, but that’s a possible side-effect and nothing more. It might be an unethical renovator who uses sub-grade materials, or someone who charges for something they didn’t actually do. It may be relatively harmless or something that is ruinous.

I’ve experienced both: charged for a purse repair that wasn’t done; an investor misrepresenting themselves to rid me of my savings. All cause pain and all cause damage.

Being manipulated happens a lot, and may be increasing, so its important to learn how to address it.

  • The first thing – always – is to pay attention to your own gut response. Do you feel a little uneasy? For me now, that’s enough. For you, you may need more … .
  • Is what you’re being told make you fearful, or angry, or set some basic emotion off? It’s hard to make a good decision when your emotions are up. Manipulators know that, and use it. So, if you notice your feelings are up, take some time off before taking any action.
  • Have you got someone you trust to talk it over with? If not, why not?
  • Finally, try turning it around: what would inspire you to ask the same thing of others? Then apply what you discover to what someone else is asking of you, and see what you discover.

…and what about those manipulative parasites…

 

 

Quote of the Week

The television is ‘real’. It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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.

 

Nice? or Kind?

nice

 

Foreigners say that Canadians are “nice” – especially our southern neighbors. Having lived on both sides of this country, I’d say that’s truer for Eastern Canada rather than Western Canada. People are generally polite. At least in Toronto, being anything but polite is considered uncivilized.

Toronto is also a major power centre in Canada, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Being “nice” can be civilized, and often is. It can also be used for less than nice reasons: masking cruelty behind a smile, or avoiding difficult situations that really need addressing.

Kindness, on the other hand, can at times look distinctly un-nice. When a friend tries on an outfit that really doesn’t suit her, for instance, it’s kind to let her know, and ‘”nice” to lie to avoid hurt feelings (who among us hasn’t done this?). Or, giving feedback that is hard to take – and to give – that if heeded, will help that person grow.

Being nice can at times be shallow. Being kind never is.

Don’t be nice – Justin Lamb

 Quote of the Week

“’Nice’ and ‘Kind’ are 2 completely different things.” – Glennon Doyle

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.

Here and Now – what it means

“Here and now” – I hear and read it all over; in yoga magazines, on websites, in health-related talks. Everywhere! And yet, it isn’t new; it’s been around for a long time, perhaps a really long time.  I first heard it when I was a student learning to be a yoga teacher, and then a gestalt therapist.

In gestalt therapy, it’s what we do as a therapist, helping our clients focus on what is present in their lives in the moment, instead of what they judge to be happening based on past unresolved experiences.

One part of our training is that we first learn about our own blocks. It’s part of what is termed the “Safe and Effective Use of Self”, or SEUS for short, and it involves clearing up our own unfinished business, learning the signs, and knowing how not to bring that into the therapy room.

For me, the whole point of therapy is to help a person be fluid in the present, unhindered by something that is making them rigid and unresponsive to their world. For instance – and I’ll use myself in this example – a few weeks ago, I was getting ready for a presentation that was really important to me. Usually, when I get ready, I write something out and then practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s always a lot of work, but writing comes easy for me. Not this time.  For some reason, I kept getting stuck. When I finally stopped to examine what the problem was, I discovered that I was really scared that I’d picked the wrong topic, and that the whole thing would be ruined. It was too late to change the topic – I’d already announced it all over the place. The only thing to do was to forge ahead.

But that did it for me. Every time I’d allow the thought “What if this topic is all wrong!” to creep in, I’d be stopped. My solar plexus would seize up, my throat would go dry, and all those words and concepts and stories I’d memorized would disappear. Worrying put me in my head, imagining past disasters, and I lost all presence and connection to what and who was around me.

I got through the presentation, and it was well received.  But one piece of feedback I received was that the flow wasn’t there as it usually is. The reason was because of that inner battle I fought right up to the day before.

Yes – the day before. Because I’ve learned a valuable technique: no matter what, when I’ve done whatever I can to properly prepare, then I relax and trust the process, so that I’m free to be present for my audience or my client.

That’s my way of being here and now for others. What’s yours?

Alan Watts – Being completely Here and Now

Quote of the Week
“Wherever you are, be there. If you can be fully present now, you’ll know what it means to live.”
― Steve Goodier

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.

Problems and Solutions

problems

Do problems always have solutions?

Seth Godin, in a recent blog,  talked about problems. He noted that if a problem doesn’t have a solution, then it is not a problem! It may be a regrettable situation, but not a problem. Instead, it’s something you have to live with.

Some examples in my current life, and why I’m writing about it:

  • I’m holding a function on Saturday. For it, I’ve spent more time than I can count on preparations, and then even more time worrying over whether anyone would show up. As it happens, there are so many people showing up I will have to start turning people back. Is that a problem? Not really. The only “problem” is how I’m going to let people know the event is filled. Nothing else is possible at this point.
  • In that function, there will be all kinds of new experiences for some of the participants, and I want to make sure there is good support for these people. As it happens, most of those who signed up are new, and to make it a good experience for them, I need more experienced people to be there too. Is that a problem? Yes it is! And I have a solution – recruit a few more experienced people, and have additional material and support on hand.

All problems, without exception, have solutions. Isn’t that comforting to know? It is to me!

 

How frustration can make us more creative

 

Quote of the Week

Generally speaking, books don’t cause much harm. Except when you read them, that is. Then they cause all kinds of problems.”
― Pseudonymous Bosch, The Name of This Book Is Secret

 

Announcement

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.

 

Imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

 

A lot of people feel they are a fraud. Even Maya Anjelou felt that way sometimes. Members of traditionally underrepresented groups tend to feel this more. There are lots of motivational talks, books and videos that can help you if you suffer from this.

One aspect that interests me is this: in every thought there is at least a tiny piece of truth. I’m not saying I am an imposter, but I respect myself too much to poopoo this feeling completely when it does happen.

When I sense this thought creeping up on me, I’ve learned to ask myself a few questions, like “What legitimate reason might there be?”, “Am I afraid of doing something I’ve judged I ‘should’ already know, but is new to me?”, or “Are my personal expectations set too high?”.

  • Legitimate reason: perhaps there is something I don’t know and need to learn, or find someone else who does know this thing and get them on board. Nobody knows everything, not even long-time experts.
  • Fear of doing something new: As I get older, I also get more confident in what I’ve been doing for a while. Then something new comes along, and I’m a novice again. Will I get stuck, or make a mistake? Possibly, but if I have a strategy in place that covers this, I’ll be fine.
  • High expectations: This is probably the toughest one for me, because I do have high expectations for myself. A realistic assessment will help me adjust my expectations to something more attainable.

Traditionally, women feel this syndrome much more keenly than men. It’s been trained into us. If we’re honest, though, we’ll be able to exchange this undermining feeling for something more genuine and fitting. Pride in our own accomplishments, for instance.

The surprising solution to the Imposter Syndrome

Quote of the Week

When I won the Oscar, I thought it was a fluke. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take it back. They’d come to my house, knocking on the door, “Excuse me, we meant to give that to someone else. That was going to Meryl Streep.
-Jodie Foster

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.

The real meaning of “Impromptu”

Impromptu

Mark Twain was the inspiration for this blog when I happened upon his quote: “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Exactly! He does have a way with words.

When I read this, I decided to make my next Toastmasters speech about it – for all of my colleagues who believe they lack in some way because they don’t have the “impromptu” part figured out yet.

To prepare for this speech I did some research, and came across an excellent article written by Chris Anderson, curator of TED, about how TED support their speakers.  They don’t choose their speakers based on whether they can come up with a speech on the spot. They choose their speakers based on three things:  the original idea, the story, and the speaker’s passion for their idea.

TED gives a speaker 6 months to prepare a speech, which must be completed a month ahead of time.  A speaker must memorize their speech, completely, before giving it: no scripts or teleprompters allowed.  Mr. Anderson believes that reading from a script or teleprompter disappoints and disengages the audience. Memorizing all of it is the only way.

Not impromptu.

What is impromptu is the idea, and the speaker’s passion. The rest is practice, practice, practice.

Chris Anderson’s Secret to a great talk

 

 

Quote of the Week

I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.
– Winston Churchill

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.

 

Why am I late!

late

I’m worried – that I’ve missed something. What is it? Let’s recheck everything before I go … and why don’t I take extra paper and pens … and how about snacks – healthy snacks … does that mean a trip to the store?  Yes!  OK … I’ll do that …

I don’t know if I should go … if it’s right for me to be there.  Well I committed, but I’d feel better if I finished that paper I’ve been working on first … and how about that mending I’ve been ignoring …

It’s my head that makes me late. Every time! Being used by me to avoid something I already know: that I’m anxious about doing something, or that I really should have said No but said Yes instead.

Once I acknowledge that thing I already know, I’m fine. I drop the chatter and get going.

Why are you late? What do you already know?

Try something new for 30 days

 

 

Quote of the Week

I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them.”  ― E. V. Lucas

 

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.

Karma

Darlene recently made a decision that might upend her life in ways she never wanted. She did want, with all her heart, to be successful in her profession. To that end, she did something scary and invested heavily in a program that promised to help her achieve her dream. The scary part was that it was a big risk for her: she was close to retirement age and this money was earmarked for just that.  She knew that if this didn’t work, she’d be in trouble.

Before she made her move, did Darlene do her homework and base her decisions on what she really knew about herself? Or did she blindly jump in, trusting in others instead of herself? If she blindly jumped in, then she’s just increased her own karma.

Karma is the sum of our actions in this lifetime that will determine our next lifetime. This means if we’re considerate in our actions, that sum is lower; if not, it’s higher.

Even if it ends up being a mistake – what Darlene did – if she chose with care and consideration, whatever happens won’t be as gloomy as it would have been had it been a thoughtless move.  She need not recriminate herself – it was a risk. She loses no self-esteem, and can as a result bounce back much easier.

I’ve noticed in my practice and in my own life, that people can make themselves miserable if they let other people run their lives. For instance, if I react to a comment from a friend that feels hurtful, that “friend” is momentarily running my life – and I’ve just added to my karma. If I make any decision based on what I think others in my life want instead of what I want, I’m building karma.

It’s the source of human suffering – this build-up of karma. The best way I know to begin to reduce that suffering is to empower myself by clearing out judgments and comparisons, and living life on my own terms.

What is Karma? How Do You Break the Karmic Trap – Sadhguru

His Holiness the Karmapa – The Technology of the Heart

Quote of the Week

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
― Wayne Dyer

Announcement

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.

If you want to be a writer …

A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write!

I heard this from a facebook video of an elderly woman (name unknown). It may seem simplistic, but if so, it also hits the nail on the head.

. What this speaker says may seen simplistic, but if so, it also hits the nail on the head.

No matter what you want to do, no matter what your dream is, the only way it will come true is if you take action.

You may be stopped because you feel overwhelmed. If so, try turtle steps – one step so tiny it feels like nothing. Then another just like that. Then another. Before long, you will notice changes you never thought possible.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Writing

 

 

Quote of the Week

If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it.”
― Criss Jami, Healology

 

Announcement

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.