Tag Archive: connecting

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.

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.

 

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 .

How to make connections that count

Do you love going to events where you don’t know anyone? Or do you dread it?  Would you rather be in a room filled with others you can bounce stuff off of, or in your own office free from the distraction of others?  If you like and need to be with others, our society calls you an extrovert; if you get energy on your own, you’re called an introvert.

Most of us, regardless of what kind of person we are, likes time with others, because we are all social animals.  It’s a basic human need.  And even if we would rather commune with plants and animals instead of other humans, we must connect to grow and thrive. And with rare exceptions, we all need some of that connection to be with our fellow humans.

But, making these connections can be hard. We may be in a brand new place with unfamiliar rules of engagement; or in a small town that tends not to welcome strangers, or in the middle of a large city where people treasure their private time and don’t especially want new friends.

It might be intimidating for you to approach new people, especially if you’ve been rebuffed a few times.  I would be! It takes a thick skin, or a strong sense of self-love – or both – to withstand this kind of apparent rejection.

I say “apparent” because it isn’t really rejection. The person who hasn’t shown interest to connecting with you isn’t necessarily judging you beyond noting that you’re new and they’re busy, or tired, or any number of things that have nothing to do with you.

It really isn’t personal! That’s the first thing to remember.

The next thing to remember is thisif you want to make meaningful connections, ones that feed your spirit, then make sure they’re meaningful to both you and the person you’re connecting with. Otherwise, at best, it’s a chore and at worst, it’s manipulative. In either case, it isn’t going to feel good to either of you, and definitely won’t nourish your spirit.

It may seem odd, but meaningful connection begins with self-connection.  How do you feel about yourself? What do you like? Dislike? Desire? What are your passions? Goals? Dreams? If you know these, then you have something to connect with others about, and a way to find those people you can meaningfully engage.

If you google the web on how to connect, you’ll pretty much get the same advice over and over: join conversations that genuinely interest you, get interested in what’s happening in the life of the person you’re talking to, be honest, courteous, and truthful.

We can now describe the physical aspects at work in our brains that make a connection meaningful to us. Tom Wujek (see the video below) identifies three mechanisms that are necessary for this to happen: image recognition, the relationship that image has to everything else that is meaningful to us in the space, and how we feel about.

Which translates as: we work best with people we want to get to know, and who’s interaction energizes us. So, the most important thing to remember when you’re wanting to connect is knowing yourself and what’s important to you.

Now I’d like to hear from you – how do you re-focus?  What item in your life helps you do that?

Included is a video related to this topic from another perspective, and a quote that I hope you will enjoy.

Tom Wujec – 3 ways the brain creates meaning

Quote of the Week
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. ― Brené Brown

Announcements
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

Is It Depression Or Something Else?

Many celebrities are talking about the positive mental health movement. They want to take away the stigma of mental health challenges and encourage everyone to be more proactive. While I was thinking about today’s post, I came across a story on a popular TV show that dealt with depression…. only the lady didn’t have depression. In fact, she had pancreatic cancer! Her psychiatrist was seeing her for other reasons, noticed the change, and encouraged a follow-up with her doctor.

SIDE NOTE: Here’s a blog I highly recommend from Health Ambition that foods that contribute to depression.

Depression is serious on its own, but sometimes there are underlining medical issues that need to be considered (or ruled out) before anyone starts treatment for depression. We tend not to think about underlining medical causes for depression because, well – we tend to be busy people with varied stressors within our lives. Depression can happen or we can be hiding it for years, or we don’t want to deal with the stigma of seeing a mental health professional and then we decide to simply “live with it”.

I’m here to tell you, today, that simply “living with it” isn’t a good option because you deserve to address your happiness – or, in rare cases, an underlining medical condition!

I am GIVING AWAY online therapy consultations. I can help you discover what the online therapy benefits are and you get to test-drive my services and see if we are a good match. To learn more about me, my programs, and read my free blog- please click here: https://thejoyofliving.co/programs/

Two Tips for Dissecting Your Dreams At Home.

I had such a great response to my prior blog post on dreams that I thought I would offer everyone some tips to do dream work at home. Now, you have to be careful. When you do dream work from home, without professional guidance, you can unravel some uncomfortable truths about your past, about your present, and about yourself.  If you know there are some painful truths buried, please seek out my services or the services of someone else who youdreams3 feel comfortable with.  Gestalt therapy is about the journey of living, successfully, in the present. Sometimes, however, the journey is a rocky path and there is no shame in seeking support to complete any part of it so you can move forward.

Ok, now to our two exercises. The first one I have dubbed as “The Rewrite Process.” This is where you take a dream and re-write it or tell it to yourself as if it is happening right now. After you do this, turn the paper over so you can’t reference it. Now, write the dream in the past tense- as you can recall it from when you woke up.  Remember, you’re covering the same dream but from two different positions. First, as if it is happening in the moment. Next, as it happened in the past tense and you viewed it from afar.

You want to compare the papers next and see where the differences exist, and there will be differences. Ask yourself how alive you felt in each experience and what emotions you felt in each experience. The results will help you work through what your unconscious mind is trying to tell you about a present situation.

Another exercise that you want to try is considered a “part of me” process. What you want to do is list all the objects you saw in the dream. For example, if you’ve dreamed about Robert Downey Jr. (yes, the actor) making milkshakes and your grandma’s house- you’d write down 1) Robert Downey Jr. 1) Milkshakes 3.) Grandma’s house.  Your next step is to write the phrase “part of me” next to each item.

Next, write down a one to two sentence that puzzled your about the dream. Follow this by writing down why it puzzled you.  Now go back and write down how all the objects in the dream made you feel. Your sentence structure should look something like this, 1. Robert Downey Jr.  Party of me.  Handsome.  2. Milkshakes. Part of me. I don’t like them. 3. Grandma’s House. Part of me. Comforting.  I was puzzled by the dream because I don’t know Robert Downey, Jr. and I don’t like his movies. I felt upset that he was at my grandma’s house.

Once you have the basics down, you should take the time to reflect upon the dream and what you wrote down out loud. If you have to talk to an empty chair or a wall, do so. Spend a good twenty minutes talking through your dreams and your notes.  Identify emotions and how each part of you noted on paper can related to your present day life.

Want to do more intense dream work with my guidance? Let’s talk.

The Sun Dance

The sun dance is a 3-day Native American high ceremony that, to my knowledge, encompasses all other ceremonies throughout the year.  It is a ceremony performed for ourselves and our community.

Sun Dancer

Sun Dancer

It requires sacrifice: people food-fast for almost four days, some dry-fast (no food or water, no moisture of any kind except for the rain that naturally falls on us), and some have body piercing.

We dance to drum and song, back and forth to the Tree of Life, free of distractions.  By connecting to the Tree, to the ground water that feeds it, and to the water within us, we are able to fully appreciate this gift of life that we have been given, however brief, and rejoice in it.

Not everyone who wants to can participate as a dancer – there is limited room in the dance arbor.  And so the dancers dance not only for themselves and their community, they also dance for the healing of Mother Earth and thanksgiving.

“The Dance shows a continuity between life and death – and a regeneration of spiritual oneness with the Great Spirit.  It shows that there is no true end to life, but a cycle of symbolic true deaths and rebirths.  All of nature is intertwined and dependent on one another.” ( from Dancing to Eagles Spirit Society)

In next week’s blog, we will be talking about the history of the sun dance.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Every Day Unique: Never to be Repeated

For those that are just joining my journey now, this series of posts are about the beauty of ceremony and ritual.  It is something that nourishes my spirit every day, and I want to share this with you. To catch up to this post you can read “The Beauty of Ceremony and Ritual”, “Healing Nature:  I gave up a pleasure cruise for this!”, “Morning ritual with coffee:  soul hungers”, “Bracketing support”, “How to live fully” and “Greeting my partner”.

I began this series in nature and am ending it also in nature. Sitting in front of a fire in a cabin in Algonquin Park, a Canadian nature preserve north of Toronto on the Canadian Shield. It’s cool and filled with life. Yesterday we hiked to a white pine that is over 400 years old. That means it was here before this country was disturbed too much by any changing culture. This tree was young when thewhite pine air was clean and animals and humans made space for one another, respected one another. I spent time in ceremony and connected with this ancient white pine, appreciating its ancient tree wisdom and deep roots. Then left a gift offering in thanks. The day was beautiful and unique, as every day is; never to be repeated.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto-based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Greeting My Partner

For those that are just joining my journey now, this series of posts are about the beauty of ceremony and ritual.  It is something that nourishes my spirit every day, and I want to share this with you. To catch up to this post you can read “The Beauty of Ceremony and Ritual”, “Healing Nature:  I gave up a pleasure cruise for this!”, “Morning ritual with coffee:  soul hungers”, “Bracketing support” and “How to live fully”.

I greet my partner with openness and gratitude. Our lives are such that we see one another less than we would like. What that has hands-holdingtaught me is to treat our times together as precious and to attend to what is really worth attending to. Life is very simple loving this way.

Now to apply this to the rest of my life!  It helps when I meditate to keep the beauty and drop the rest.  Pema Chödrön’s many books and tapes on meditation have influenced so many people to connect with themselves and their world.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto-based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

How to Live Fully

For those that are just joining my journey now, this series of posts are about the beauty of ceremony and ritual.  It is something that nourishes my spirit every day, and I want to share this with you. To catch up to this post you can read “The Beauty of Ceremony and Ritual”, “Healing Nature:  I gave up a pleasure cruise for this!”, “Morning ritual with coffee:  soul hungers” and “Bracketing support”.

I want to begin with a passage from George St. Pierre, a star in the world of mixed martial arts and author of a beautiful book: “The Way of the Fight.”

Peace-+-Gratitude-543x361He begins with a quote from Mohamed Ali: “It’s the repetition of affirmations that lead to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” It’s what St. Pierre’s book is about: about what attracts us and how we learn and grow from following our attractions. I think of my morning ritual, of my commitment to identifying and feeding my hungers, and the inspiration someone like George St. Pierre gives me with his power of example.

I’m not into mixed martial arts (although I am into karate). I definitely don’t like hip-hop (he does). I’m probably not at all like him, except that we both aspire to bring meaning into our lives. I am grateful that he decided to write his book and grateful for his inspiration.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto-based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Do you have a relationship with your therapist?

When people think about therapists, the first image that comes to mind is of a patient lying on a couch while the therapist sits across from them doodling on a notepad and watching the clock. Too often, therapists are labelled as shrinks or analysts. chickentherapyhutUnfortunately, therapists are not usually associated with words like … guide or ally.

According to Wikipedia, psychotherapy is “a general term referring to therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client, patient, family, couple, or group”. Therapeutic treatments for clients are usually in linked to mental disorders. Wikipedia defines mental disorders, using the medical model for psychotherapy, as a “psychological pattern or anomaly, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development in a person’s culture”.

Many therapists don’t think of their clients as being “ill”, but as individuals who are stuck in life patterns that are no longer working. They need the eyes and ears of a trained professional to help them identify these patterns and help to change them. A good therapist will interact with his/her clients, builds relationships, and listens to their goals and dreams. This approach falls under the ‘relationship model’ because therapeutic treatment depends on the relationship that is created between the therapist and client.

Author and clinical psychologist, Michael Owen’s poignant description in his book The Maya Book of Life puts words to the experience of the psychotherapeutic process. “Psychotherapy is not about alleviating symptoms or becoming better adapted but rather about developing the capacity to suffer, experience, and enjoy truth – the truth about oneself and the truth about others. As a result, life gets better.”

Which psychotherapeutic approach appeals most to you? If you’ve ever gone to a therapist, how did it help you and what might you do differently in the future?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto-based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.

Next Page »