Tag Archive: joy of living

The 6 things you need to develop to live a successful life

A number of weeks ago, I heard an interview with Brendon Bouchard. He was introducing his latest book High Performance Habits. The book is a summary of a 3-year research project looking at why and how high-performance people do what they do.  He defined High Performance as Sustained, long-term success.

He discovered some key things that all of the people he interviewed had in common.  These people were all highly successful, not only in their business but also in their personal lives.  Much of what Bouchard discovered has been said by others, probably forever, but in his gathering it all together, he’s created something powerful.

He identified 6 habits that were true for every high performer he interviewed. I’ve put them in my own words and as I understand them. Here they are:

  1. Show Up. That’s right. Show up – daily, weekly, monthly.  Do what needs doing, and don’t skip it! Turn this way of operating on a daily basis into a habit that you learn never to drop.
  2. Balance your life. Balance is about living well emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually and sexually.  This is something I learned in Shamanism, and now it’s coming into modern use.  Without this kind of balance, we lose energy, and simply aren’t able to show up all the time, when we need to.
  3. Clarity. High performers define the feeling they’re after, like “overall contentment” on a daily basis: not having a feeling of contentment for a split second, but how, in general, they want to feel regularly.  How do you get there? If you know how you want to be and feel, you can begin to define the kinds of activities that will get you to that state. For instance, I want to feel light-hearted and full of hope; and know that the kinds of things that will get me there are focusing on what’s truly important and always including time with those I love.
  4. Positive self-talk. Bring that inner elder to the surface so that she can guide you openly and powerfully.  For instance, every day, I decide what I need to do, then I have a talk with myself. Like: Maryanne, you really need to focus on getting this document out, so make some relevant self-contracts – this is completely doable and once you’re finished, you know you’ll feel fantastic.
  5. Manage transitions. Take time when you’re switching from one set of tasks to another to reset your intentions. Take a break, let go of the current focus, and set the next intention.  For instance, once I finish my newsletter, my next task is usually to see a client.  Before I can see that client, so that I am 100% present with her, I take 10minutes.  Often, I’ll cup my eyes with my hands and simply sit there, breathing and relaxing. It really works.
  6. Stop striving and start thriving. Full engagement, joy, confidence – those are the three things high performers feel as they work.  They don’t feel stressed, striving for something they don’t yet have.  They’re happy and engaged.  They’re thriving, right now, in the present moment.

I encourage you to get a copy of his book, and see how you can apply what he’s found in a way that works for you.

Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions.  In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.

This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.

Secrets to success – Richard St. John

successful life

Quote of the Week
Find a purpose to serve, not a lifestyle to live.
― Criss Jami, Venus in Arms

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

Here and Now….

As a therapist who uses Gestalt therapy techniques, focusing on the here and now is important when helping clients understand how to overcome current challenges. Many people want to focus on the past in order to move forward. While this does work and is a great tool to use, I believe that understanding the past means dealing with the here and now.

by-take-the-future-exhale-the-past-tattoo

Through therapy, people learn to discover feelings that may have been suppressed or masked by other feelings and to accept and trust their emotions. Needs and emotions that were previously suppressed or unacknowledged are likely to surface as well. Through this process, my clients gain a new sense of self as overall awareness increases.

Again, this doesn’t devalue what working on the past has in a person’s everyday life. But thinking in terms of the present can help dissect the past and really address how to cope with different and even similar situations going forward.  Think about people , maybe even yourself, who suffer with anxiety. Usually, anxiety is rooted in an incident from the past. When the feelings or circumstances of today relate or refer to yesterday, the anxiety is usually ignited.  While we work with the past to think about how and when the anxiety started, it isn’t enough to move forward.  Dealing, however, with the triggers of today will help to harness the feelings associated with anxiety and the past.  It is important to have a conversation with yourself about today as much as you need to have it with yourself about your past.

I can help you navigate these often difficult conversations with yourself to address current and past behaviors and even others who may have caused you harm.  If you’re a bit curious about my technique, of Gestalt therapy in general, please do not hesitate to contact me. All my sessions are confidential and I work by phone or Skype. Yes, I’m HIPAA compliant.

Dreams and Gestalt Therapy.

Frederick (Fritz) Perls is considered the “father” of Gestalt Therapy. The basic concept of Gestalt Perls believed that unresolved conflicts from the past had a great deal of influence upon present behavior, and that these conflicts needed to be “worked through” (Perls, 1969). Dreams were a cornerstone of this type of therapy because of the dreamsenergy and reference work it provides to help people better understand the present.

When working with myself, my patients often discover just how powerful dreams can be when seeking insight into our day-to-day lives and possible hidden issues that we can’t see within the present.  You see, Fritz Perls felt that dreams were highly symbolic and made extensive use of interpretation and I couldn’t agree more.  I believe dreams are a subjective presentation of the person and that there is a sense of wholeness in every image.  By using dreams as a part of therapy, we can better connect to the meaning of what may be parts of ourselves that are veiled or living within a fantasy during waking life.  The meanings have to be carefully talked about, sometimes even talked through using an empty chair as a “third” party.  And we can always evaluate the idea of the intrapsychic dream landscape.  For example, was that angry dog really someone angry at you or yourself angry at a situation.

Dreams are powerful and there are many ways to decipher what they do and do not mean. I tend to believe our unconscious mind is always trying to help our conscious lives by providing clues to not only unraveling what is nagging us, but by presenting options for us to address, work through and then discover how to apply solutions in everyday life.

If you’re just as fascinated by dreams as I, let’s talk. I have plenty more information to provide to you and consultations are always welcomed. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for daily updates on this and other subjects related to Gestalt therapy.

What Sun Dance Means to Me

For those that are just joining my journey now, the last couple of posts have been taking my readers with me through the sun dance.  It was an incredible experience that I am still processing. And I feel it is important to share this experience with anyone who wants it. To catch up to this post you can read “The Sun Dance” and “A Brief History of The Sun Dance”.

“The tree represents the centre of the world, connecting the heavens to the earth…. The fork of the [tree] represents the eagle’s

Tree of Life

Tree of Life

nest… the eagle is the facilitator of communication between man and spirit….the eagle also represents many human traits…[he] is seen as courageous, swift and strong.  He has great foresight and knows everything.”  The main theme of the sun dance is the Buffalo which symbolizes life.  Plains Indians relied on the Buffalo for everything – food, shelter, clothing.  The sun dance symbolizes the reconciliation of humans to the Buffalo. ( http://www.slideshare.net/westlivaudias/the-sun-dance-presentation)

eagleAs I dance back and forth, connecting to the tree, to its waters, and to life, something happens within me that makes this trip worth the time and sacrifice I made to be here.  My perspective is altered and I begin to appreciate my connection to the earth I dance on, to the life-giving properties of the herbs and shrubs, and to my connection to everything alive.  “The tree is the symbol of the Source, the eternal light from which all consciousness, life and movement emerge.  The medicine wheel [the arbor itself] is the zero surrounding the Source.  “The Zero is Holy….From the Eternal, which is Time, and from all Energies, which are Space, all of everything was born from the Zero….The womb of creation is the Sacred Zero.”” Hyemeyohsts Storm, Lightening Bolt.  (http://www.thewildrose.net/eagle_dance.html).

It takes me a month to process what I experienced within those brief 4 days.  I know my

White Buffalo Calf Woman

White Buffalo Calf Woman

perspective has altered and that I feel more in alignment with Nature, that I am better able to handle what life gives me, and enjoy whatever there is with gratitude.  I know that more will be revealed as the year unfolds, until

White Buffalo Calf Woman

the next 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.

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.

Needless Suffering

“The most ancient form of suffering is what we do to ourselves and our body – in what we say or don’t say, feel or don’t feel, do or

Truth is Crying by Suzy Kasse

Truth is Crying by Suzy Kasse

don’t do.  In our search for the Eden we lost as children, we lose the magic of the present.  The story of our lives that we hang onto no longer works for us and seems never finished.

Self-acceptance is the real Eden.  There is a way of finishing the cycle of self-doubt. The energy we liberate from our needless suffering is available once more for creative living in the here and now.”

I wrote that several years ago, then filed it away.  It surfaced when I was tidying up old files.  It is the reason behind my desire and passion for doing what I do, and why I chose to call what I do “The Joy of Living”.

Have you ever done that?  Jotted down something that many years later strikes you as immediately meaningful in your life?  Perhaps it’s time to take another look and see what the elder within you was trying to tell you.  You may find something that moves you from wuat others have said.

 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.

Bracketing Support

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!” and “Morning ritual with coffee:  soul hungers”.

The other day, I faced a personal crisis that involved a number of people. A big deal. To emotionally prepare, I found a quiet moment and went inside to see how I was doing… I offered myself support by breathing into any area of my body that needed it. final_fantasy_xiii_cocoon_background_by_miku8-d4p4mbzThen I focused on what was important, what I wanted to accomplish and how I wanted to deal with the situation as a result. This brackets the event for me in a supportive cocoon. Did it work? Not completely – not everyone wanted what I did or felt as strongly – I made mistakes. But one thing for sure, I was able to live with the end result and sleep well that night.

How do you support yourself when your world does a flip?  Does it work?  How can you support yourself even better?

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.

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