Archive: Newsletter

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.

 

Building a trusting relationship

relationship

I believe that relations are the key to human happiness and growth. When a client I’m seeing begins a new relationship of any kind, I know to get ready, because life is so much easier when we’re on our own. It’s the relationships we enter into are that are the true testing ground of maturity.

There’s an old story – perhaps you’ve heard it: A monk, living on his own on a mountain top, was  revered far and wide as wise and learned. One day, a fellow monk heard of this, and being a little mischievous, decided to visit the revered recluse.

The curious monk showed up on a day when the reclusive monk was meditating (which he did for long hours every day). He didn’t bother knocking; just came in, leaving the door ajar and incidentally letting the debris from outside scatter on previously clean floors.

The reclusive monk took in a deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Then the curious monk began to relate everything that happened to him on the way – in detail and loudly – speaking not 2 inches from the recluse’s ear. Wreaking of garlic.

The reclusive monk took in another deep breath, then returned to his meditation.

Finally, the curious monk began opening up all the windows, letting in the rain that had started, along with more debris. He declared he was hungry and ate all the stew that had been made earlier, leaving the dirty dishes piled in the sink.

The reclusive monk had had enough! He lost it, railing at the visitor about his rudeness, lack of manners, intrusiveness, and so on, until finally he was out of breath and energy.

The visiting monk had made his point: It’s easy to be serene and perfect when you’re a hermit. The real work begins with relationship with others.

The key component to developing trusting relationships is openness and honesty: of admitting to a mistake instead of trying to hide it, thereby validating what the other person likely knew anyway; of being clear and honest about your own needs and desires; and caring about the needs and desires of the other.

In today’s atmosphere of mistrust, it’s tempting to turn into a recluse. But that is a dead end that will never lead to a sense of living well. It’s a lot harder, but much more satisfying, to find and build trusting relationships that you can count on in both good and bad times.

How to build (and rebuild) trust

 

Quote of the Week

This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
– 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 atwww.thejoyofliving.co.

Change the world – Change ourselves

change

One of my teachers does things a lot differently than I do, and because of this, we clash. It would be so much easier for me if she would only change!

I want my teacher to change. I also want the attitude and policies of certain institutions to change. You may want similar people or institutions to change – or your partner, your child, others in your life who, because they are opposed, one way or another, to what you want or believe in, justified or not.

I want to change the world, or at least my little corner of the world. In my eyes, for the better. But to do that, I need the cooperation of others – of my teacher, or those who run the institutions I interact with.

I don’t want to compromise my beliefs to get what I want; or bend others to my will with partial truths and manipulation. I want them to be open to working with me, so that I can move ahead feeling good about myself, and about them.

The truth is that I can accomplish this – change the world – only by changing myself.

When you think about it, it’s the only thing that I – or you – can change: Ourselves.

Not by changing our core beliefs or compromising ourselves, but by changing our approach, and our attitude toward others.

For instance, I was challenged by this teacher to find a way of really understanding an issue I’ve had for a very long time, and then use that understanding to effect positive change in myself. I’ve been “working on” myself for many years, and really didn’t think this task was going to give me anything I didn’t already know. But I agreed to do it, because I really wanted to remove that issue.

For the next 2 months, I used all the tool and techniques at my disposal. I consulted others when I felt the need. I used whatever came into my awareness and experience during these 2 months to help me change. That included whatever I read and watched: if I was triggered by a character or situation, I would ask myself how that person or event reminded me of myself, and then open myself to the truth of what I had the courage to see.

It wasn’t easy, or pleasant at times.  At times, it was painful and humbling. But in the end, I discovered what it was that I had an issue with, how I used that issue to keep me from growing. I also learned how I could alter that behavior by changing my approach to it, and my attitude to myself and others.

You too can change the world, by first changing yourself.

Smart failure for a fast-changing world

Quote of the Week 

We can change society, change humanity by changing ourselves as individuals. By cultivating inner values, we can change our own lives and those of our families. This is how we can create a more peaceful world.”
― Dalai Lama

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 .

Aloneness

 

I was listening to a close friend agonize over her failing relationship, remembering what it was like for me when my past marriage was failing. That feeling of being alone in a space crowded with others – even if all that space was taken up by one other person. That person who used to care about what I said or did and so clearly no longer cared.

“There’s nothing worse than being alone when you’re with somebody” – my friend responded when I empathized with her.

That’s not the only time I‘ve felt this kind of aloneness. I’ve felt it when I’ve accomplished something that nobody else I know has. Whenever I’ve had to make hard decisions that impacted others, I’ve felt it.

My friend wanted and needed connection and wasn’t getting it. Instead of ignoring that feeling, she saw it for what it was – a signal for change. A confrontation, an action, a re-arrangement, perhaps a leaving. A change.

Sometimes feeling alone is the only way. Sometimes it’s a signal for change.

Connected, but alone?

 

Quote of the Week 

God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly.”
― Paul Valéry

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 .

Hiding in plain sight

hiding

I’ve been anticipating that the response I get from a colleague to something I put out is one I won’t like, and when I do receive her response, I’m ready to load my anticipations onto my interpretation of it. As a result, I will react emotionally to what she does say. But just so there’s a possibility of dialogue after the reaction, I will do this in private, waiting until I’m cooled down enough to respond.

Another colleague reads about new requirements that he feels he “should have” caught earlier and didn’t, and he reacts by retreating until he, too, can respond in a more measured way.

It isn’t until I reach out for a one-on-one live conversation that I can put aside my expectations and projections (because that’s all I really have up till now) and gain a truly measured understanding. Similarly with my colleague, it isn’t until he has the conversation – live – that he can really appreciate the reality of the situation.

I know I react. I know I can explode. I know that when I explode, the result is rarely anything but destructive. So I hide behind propriety, keeping my opinions to myself until I can express them in a way that I believe will be more acceptable to those I’m expressing them to.

This seems to be the way of everyone in our society, and is leading to an ever-spreading reaction against “political correctness”.  Political correctness gives us the code for being agreeable, and for expressing our anger in a way that is deemed acceptable. But this modern security blanket we use is wearing thin, because just like any security system, it can – and is – used to launch grenades.

We hide in plain sight behind our words and our mask of maturity. We all do – well, most of us – because most of us are afraid of what would happen if we were spontaneous instead.

I grew up believing that I had freedom of speech, that I could say something controversial, or even wrong, and not be punished for it. But in these recent years, that’s changed. My society today isn’t the same comfortable and secure-feeling one of my youth. People – including me – don’t feel secure any longer, right or wrong. And that makes me careful about what I say and how I say it.

I believe that given today’s atmosphere, suggesting we be more spontaneous isn’t helpful or even possible. We need to feel safe to be free with our words and actions, and that simply isn’t true.

I believe that what we can do, and can nurture in others, is real connection. Of deferring judgment – as much as possible – until we can talk. Until we can see that person we have thoughts and judgments about as a human being who is doing their best, just as we are.

Morgana Bailey – on coming out

 

 

Quote of the Week

Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.”
― André Malraux

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.