Archive: Newsletter

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.

 

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.

The labyrinth that is ourselves

 

The only person who can solve the labyrinth of yourself is you.

This quote from Jeremy Denk got my attention. In some ways, we are all more alike than we think. In other ways, we are such a complex mixture of our genes, experiences, culture, community, when and where we were born and grew up, even our level of maturity.

We are alike in how we are equipped to connect with our world, in our need for family, friends and other humans (even if we’re ‘loners’), in our capacity to learn and take in knowledge, and to pass it on.

And, we are unique in how we react or respond to our world, in our ways of inviting or avoiding contact,  protecting ourselves, in our choices to either grow or not grow, and to leave our legacy small. Or large.

When we get stuck emotionally, it’s good to seek help. But whatever help we seek is only as good as the commitment and effort we invest into solving out issues. Nobody will ever know us as well as we know ourselves.

Is life really that complex?

 

Quote of the Week 

I never knew anybody . . . who found life simple. I think a life or a time looks simple when you leave out the details.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Birthday of the World and Other Stories

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 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Self Worth

 

I was blasted with judgment this week – other people’s judgments of me. They don’t really know me. Their judgments were based on their own fears and prejudices, projected onto me.

It’s bound to happen to any of us who become visible, who have a differing opinion, who have chosen to go a different route than the one chosen by the one judging.

At times, the judgment is valid. Often – even if it is valid – it’s colored by the judge’s personal lenses, coming out distorted. Like a mirror in the House of Mirrors.

No matter what’s happening inside the judger, what’s important is how you work with this bullet that’s come your way.

First, get to a calm place. Try not to be so offended or hurt that you aren’t able to do anything. Yes, you probably will be hurt, so let it flow through you as fast as possible, so that you can have an opportunity to look at the judgment with impartial eyes. This might mean going for a walk in Nature, or smudging to clear yourself. Breathing deeply for a few minutes; reminding yourself that you and they are human and fallible.

Then, once you’re in a better heart-space and calm, see if there is anything to it – in other words, ignore the distortions and look for the gem.  Whatever is there for you to learn and grow by is a gem.  People who we have difficulties with often feed us such gems – but if we’re defensive, we can miss them.

Finally, verify what you know to be true about you, no matter the judgment.  Most of us try to be the best we can be. All of us have qualities that are worth having and sharing.  These are the qualities that are worth focusing on, and nurturing.

 

Doing these 3 things – get calm, find the gem and learn, verify your own truth – are the foundation of having a strong sense of self worth.

There will never be a time when everyone agrees with you and likes you.  None of that matters very much, as long as you like yourself.

 

Self -Worth Theory


Quote of the Week

If you spend your time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to your heart, then you’re allowing them to hurt you a second time in your mind.”
― 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 at www.thejoyofliving.co.

 

 

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 .