Archive: Newsletter

Right now is …

 

Life is the moment we’re living right now. (Paulo Coelho)

I spend a lot of time thinking about the next thing I’m going to do. Every morning, once I have my coffee in hand, I look at my to do list for the day. Half an hour later, I’ve envisioned everything on that list, as if each thing had already happened. I remember a few days ago telling Andy (my husband) what my plans were, and it seemed, by 9am, that it was already 8pm. That I’d already lived the whole day in the first hour.

No wonder time flies for me! What would happen if I truly lived in this moment? Right now.

 

Want to be happier? Stay in the moment

 

 

Quote of the Week

“The Expulsion from Paradise is eternal in its principal aspect: this makes it irrevocable, and our living in this world inevitable, but the eternal nature of the process has the effect that not only could we remain forever in Paradise, but that we are currently there, whether we know it or not.”

― Franz Kafka, The Zürau Aphorisms

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.

Home is …

For years, home for me was in my books.  I have hundreds of them … my mysteries and sci-fi for pleasant and relaxing escapes, philosophy for the years I studied it and grew into another person, then psychology – that “practical philosophy” that I moved into and that is now my vocation, the spiritual books and books written by inspirational men and women (mostly women), books on mathematics and economics, practical how-to books, art books, yoga books … classics, poetry … . some books are falling apart from use, some nearly new.  All have been read and cherished.

From my 20’s onward, my book moved with me, no matter how cumbersome. I’ve sold some for almost nothing when I needed money, then bought them back for 10 times as much when I could. Books served as insulation in some of the small rooms I inhabited, lining the walls with their warmth and welcome.

Every lost book was a personal loss to me, like the loss of a friend. The time I felt the need to downsize and give away a third of my books was really difficult; I tried to find good homes for each one, as I would a cherished pet who needed a different place to thrive and grow.

Then about 6 months ago, I suddenly felt a need for space and room. For the first time, my books felt like they were limiting me, enclosing me, suffocating and isolating me.

Within a week of realizing this, I packed them up and put them all in storage!

And now? Now, I have twice the space I once had, for welcoming friends – human friends – into.

My long-term plan is to find a bigger place to live where I can happily co-exist with my books and  friends in collaborative peace. Meantime, home, to me, has become my cherished relationships, and my work.

What is home to you?

Where is home?

 

Quote of the Week 

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen

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.

How to manipulate successfully

 

Yes, this is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek blog today. It struck me a while back that all the things some modern coaches tell us to do can be used to fool people into thinking you’re someone you’re not.  Coaching on how to win friends and influence people. Wait, isn’t that what Dale Carnegie – grand master of manipulation – taught?

The “solid” handshake, looking people straight in the eye, knowing beforehand what your audience wants and then talking to that, whether you personally believe it or not.  Standing with feet slightly apart and hands by your sides. Smiling, projecting your voice, doing something to generate energy inside you so that you exude energy and vibrancy on the outside (Tony Robins runs for at least 5 minutes before any talk to do just that).

I’m not saying that Tony Robins is a manipulator, or anyone using these techniques. What I am saying is that if those actions aren’t natural to you, then you aren’t being genuine, and while they might work on some, they won’t work on everyone. Eventually, that chicken will come home to roost; every action costs something, and the cost of not being genuine may end up being an expensive one.

A better way is to be real. Some people won’t like it, and that’s OK. Those people aren’t your people anyway. The cost of being genuine is peace of mind, and feeling great achieving whatever it is you achieved doing so.

I once gave a talk at a university and about 10 seconds before I began, I had a severe dizzy episode. It was all I could do to stay upright, and my speech showed it. Needless to say, I was never asked back and I learnt that letting everyone know what was happening might have been a better idea. More genuine.  I’ve given a lot of speeches since then, and having already experienced the worst possible scenario gives me a sense of ease that helps me be genuine. I don’t think you need to experience what I did to get there.

How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google manipulate our emotions (by the way, I like Ayn Rand)

 

 

Quote of the Week 

One of the methods of manipulation is to inoculate individuals with the bourgeois appetite for personal success.”  ― Paulo Freire

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.

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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 

 

Change for 2020

 

In this new year of 2020, there is a tradition among some of reviewing their past year in order to see what they might do to make the new year better.  What we did, what happened as a result, what was going on for us to make what happened happen; our dreams, how they came to fruition … or not, and the dream we have for this current year.

New Year’s resolutions can be past or future focused – how we want to correct what happened, or change what happened, or go in a new and hopefully better direction this year. I hear all the time about New Years’ resolutions that are doomed to fail – which is a good thing, because they are really instruments of self-flagellation: crash diets, working out till you drop, piling on the meant-to-feel-better-about-ourselves to-do items, that eventually get dropped because they are, in fact, impossible. Besides, I really don’t believe that any kind of self-imposed punishment ever results in something good, and never feels motivating enough to follow through on (in my personal experience).

But there is one New Years’ resolution that might work, and that is to commit to changing our story. This will probably involve spending time on looking at your story of 2019, but doing so with compassion for the person you had to be to be in that story. Then deciding what to let go of so that your 2020 story can be one of more beauty and joy.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than last year’s. Changing something can happen in big leaps, but is more likely to really happen in small steps. (For those of you who get the newsletter version of this blog, watch the video to get a few really good ways of making those changes.)

Wishing you a joyful and hopeful 2020.

How to change your behavior for the better

 

 

Quote of the Week 

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  ― Albert Einstein

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 .

 

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 .

Inner temple

 

This is the time of year – this late December season – when we are at or best and at our worst.  Expectations and desires for what might be are high, and for that reason alone, lead to joy and gratitude for some, or disappointment and pain for many others.

You might be among the many, away from family, in a new and unfamiliar place, separated from those you love, or confined with those you feel you ought to love. It’s tempting to wallow in what we believe “should” be, whatever that is: a beautiful tree buried in gifts, a large table overladen with festive food and surrounded by cheerful loving people, back home in familiar surroundings. Then we shake that longing and pain off, telling ourselves that we can do better than that, and don our coping mechanism armor, putting on a “happy” or brave face.

Our armor might be a mask of joviality, or a sharp knife. It may be stoicism, or any number of faces and physical stances.  It’s our armor, and for better or worse, it will get us through this time. And for that we can be thankful.

Armoring is something we all do when we feel the need to protect ourselves. We mask what we are feeling, not only from others, but also from ourselves. We do this by tensing up, not even allowing certain feelings to surface. There’s a price for armoring, and there are better ways of coping that don’t require it. But before rejecting this mechanism that has got you through so many difficult times, remember that it did get you through, and that it was the best you could come up with at the time.

For me, this time of year is a time of deep gratitude, for all I’ve been through, survived, experienced, learned from and grown through.  “We build our inner temples with the stones we have at hand.” – Richard Moore.

Best wishes to you.

Ram Dass – Dissolving the Fear

Quote of the Week 

Seek the temple within, the silent place you can go in the midst of it all.
― Nikki Rowe

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 .

 

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 .

Will it matter tomorrow?

 

This is a busy time of year for most of us. Business and family parties, finishing off what won’t keep for the New Year, preparing for those few days you plan to relax. Every time I plan a vacation, my to-do list grows, and a lot of things I put off indefinitely seem to gain in urgency, so that by the time I go, I’m exhausted, having been up till 4 in the morning taking care of all those urgent matters.

It’s as if I’m preparing for the possibility of death or extreme change, so that everything becomes urgent. More than important.

A trick I learned a while ago for dealing with my own temporary insanity around sudden urgent tasks is this:  if I feel an overwhelming need to get some task done, even though the need to get this thing done was never that important before, I delete it. Completely.  Then I look at the important tasks, and focus only on them, because when I label something “important”, I’m doing so from a calm, considered place. On the other hand, when I label something “urgent” I’m not at all coming from a place of calm.

I suspect that “urgent” really means “I’ll keep myself so busy that I can’t possibly worry about what might go wrong with this long-awaited event”. I suspect this, because if it happens that the urgent task doesn’t get done, by the time I return, I don’t even think about it.

Is this a habit of yours too? Even with important tasks, some may not be as important as I believe.  The question then is: will it matter tomorrow? How will I feel tomorrow, a month or a year from now if I don’t finish this? Will it really matter in the long run?

Even more revealing is asking: what will matter tomorrow, a month or a year from now? What are you doing now that will help you grow and thrive tomorrow?

Measuring what makes life worthwhile

 

 

Quote of the Week 

What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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 .

 

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 .

 

Here’s to the Journey …

 

One sure way to get and stay anxious is to focus on the results you want to happen, the destination you want to arrive at – a coveted job or position, a successful venture, party, or dinner. It doesn’t matter – as long as your focus is on how you want the future to look like, it isn’t at all on what’s happening around you right now.

And that means you are missing out on so much! On how you’re impacting those around you. On the wins and learnings about what you’re in the process of creating. How you feel in your gut about what you’re doing.  Any opportunities that open up during this process of living.

If you’re not present for the process as it unfolds, you miss out big time.

So, as Harry Kim realized in the final episode of the series “Startrek Voyager”, it’s the journey that matters. With that in mind, I raise a glass of something delicious to salute the beauty and power of the process of living. Here’s to the journey!

Alive! Now what?

 

Quote of the Week 

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

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 .

 

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 power of fear

 

Fear only has as much power as we give it space.

This quote from Josh Ritter came in a moment when I was pondering a possibility that made my blood pressure rise. I needed to address something with a contentious colleague, and was occupying my mind with worst case scenarios. In other words, I was giving this imagined fear a lot of power.

Have you ever done that?  Perhaps not, but I can tell you from personal experience that when I give fear that kind of power, I can become paralyzed. Frozen on the spot, as if I had gears as brains, all jammed up.

I’ve found ways to unjam those gears, and for what it’s worth, here’s what I do:

Recognize the physical feeling. There is no way of unjamming without first recognizing that you’re jammed. I know what that feels like: a clenching around my diaphragm, an obsessive urge to eat or blank out in some way. My body is screaming for comfort because it’s scared.

Physically Reframe. I smudge myself, or counter the frozen sensation with one that supports me.  The feeling I can count on is one that I call feeling landed. I can’t explain it all that well, and it doesn’t matter. These feelings and sensations are highly personal and unique to each of us. When I get to feeling landed, the freeze melts away, and the gears begin to move.

Act. Now I can act; I can decide what’s next. I can review the coming discussion from a calm and reasonable place. I can look realistically at both worst- and best-case scenarios, and plan.

Expect the best.  So much better than expecting the worst.  Plan for the worst – yes. But expect the best.

Smash fear, learn anything

 

Quote of the Week 

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist  

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.

 

Boundaries

 

Do you find that challenges come in waves? Not just in pairs, or threes, as tales tell. But in bunches.  That happened with me over the past several months, where I felt my boundaries being challenged over and over.

What I mean by that is that I would be asked – or expected – to let some seemingly little thing happen. Like letting something slip by as a “personal favor”, or changing the rules for a friend, or acting as mother to someone I’m not a mother to, or finding myself expected to listen to an endless rant on a mutual acquaintance.

These are all boundary breakers, because they effectively make me responsible, or partly responsible, for my friend’s or acquaintance’s, or colleague’s behavior.  The personal favor that I grant, if it causes pain for someone, can be justifiably seen as my fault, at least in part. The rule-changing, likewise.  Being a mother to a child is a special relationship that allows a boundaryless connection to some extent while your child is young. But allowing that in adulthood is called “codependence”. Allowing a friend or colleague to rant for more than a few minutes isn’t helpful to either of us: getting those bad feelings aired once is good; re-airing them more than that is painful and really depressing.

Apparently, I must score high on agreeableness – people who score high in this are more likely to accept someone oversharing because they don’t want the other person to feel in the wrong. I do know it’s a challenge for me, and have been aware of it for some time.  After all, I’m a therapist, and boundary maintenance is important in my line of work.

If you’re like me in allowing others to cross your boundaries, here are some tips in changing that, and living happier as a result:

  • Awareness. Learn to recognize the signs that boundaries are being challenged. One major sign is how you’re feeling about the conversation. Are you feeling uneasy? Bored? Anxious?  Pay attention to these indicators; take them seriously. True, it might be for some other reason – like broaching an unpleasant topic – but the more you become aware of how you react to breaking boundaries, the better you will be at recognizing the signs early.
  • Become a little disagreeable. Allow prolonged silences; don’t answer prying questions. You might get an apology, or a rebuff. Either way, you’ll feel stronger and in charge of the conversation, rather than at the effect of the other.
  • Limit it. Give it 5 or 10 minutes, then say you need to go elsewhere, or do other things. If a friend needs to vent, and you’re open to listening for a while, then this is a way to do it and support your friend without making you feel caught and cornered.
  • Attend to the degree of separation. With an intimate partner, most of us are very close and reveal a lot. Even here, there are boundaries: my partner may not want me to reveal things he’s said to me in private (this is even truer with our kids).  I’ll tend to reveal more to a friend than I do to an acquaintance or stranger.  Then there are relationships that are inherently unequal:  parent-child, teacher-student, therapist-client, manager-employee. It’s important to know and understand the rules of engagement when in an unequal situation, and the responsibility for doing so should rest with the person with the greater power.
  • When your boss is crossing a boundary: sometimes it’s obvious (a sexual inuendo) and sometimes it isn’t (asking a personal question). You may be dealing with an ethically dubious person and fear being fired if you don’t go along with it.  But honestly, letting yourself be invaded in never worth it in the long run.

Boundaries are good. Flexible boundaries are the best. When we honor our own boundaries, it engenders a sense of empowerment in us that makes our world a safer – and freer – place.

Good boundaries free you

Quote of the Week 

We cannot simultaneously set a boundary and take care of another person’s feelings.
― Melody Beattie

 

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.

 

Eating Disorders in Midlife

Eating disorders, often referred to as EDs (not to be confused with Erectile Dysfunction), were identified as an issue perhaps 30 years ago or longer.  Since then, treatments have been put in place and modified with experience. These treatments are primarily geared towards helping adolescent girls, because this is the population that is identified as most likely to suffer from an ED.

But, EDs are much more prevalent than thought among women (and some men) who are transitioning from their energy-efficient young years to their not-so-energy-eficient midlife years. Treatment programs specifically for these women and men are rare.  (I will refer only to women, and assume the inclusion of men who are also suffering from an ED.)

ED’s include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. An ED may represent a relapse in a woman, or it may be the first time it’s happened to them. EDs can wreak havoc in a woman’s life, just as they can in adolescents; but because the woman doesn’t fit the profile, it can remain undiagnosed, untreated, and misunderstood.

Adolescents are innocents compared to a woman in her 40’s and 50’s (and even 60’s and 70’s). Although the adolescent will attempt to hide the disorder, it isn’t long before it’s noticed by a caring adult.  A woman, on the other hand, who has an ED, can hide it successfully for years, even from herself.  Fad diets – one after the other, over-exercising, diuretic foods and “natural” laxatives, detoxing and excessive fasting. I would even add liposuction to the list.  Maintaining our girlish figure keeps getting harder and harder as we age. And yet our society continues to place a premium on looking youthful.

It’s a way to maintain control in a chaotic world, to cope with painful situations. We are rewarded for looking young, for looking fit beyond our years.  Looking our age can bring on feelings of shame and embarrassment, instead of feelings of pride for our experience, accomplishments and hard-earned wisdom.

I don’t believe this preoccupation with looks is healthy. I don’t believe most people do, even if we all in some way support it. How do we begin the process of shifting to a healthier frame of mind? By learning to love who we are and how we look in this moment; choosing what we wear because we feel good in those clothes, by eating what gives us pleasure and is good for our bodies, and by fully accepting and loving the person we are and have become. By taking pride of ownership in who we have grown into.

For most of us, not at all an easy task.

Stripping away negative body image

Quote of the Week 

You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
― Amy Bloom

 

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.