to Out on a Limb,
a monthly newsletter from Martha Clark Scala. This free e-zine
is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
Yourself a Pusher!
you conclude that I’ve gone completely nuts,
let me clarify that I don’t mean that kind of pusher!
A joy pusher is someone who is aware of your likes, dislikes,
preferences and tastes, and recommends a book, movie, song,
artist, quote, etc. that s/he feels will “speak” to
you. A pusher is not a nag! Rather, a pusher encourages,
plugs, suggests, and sometimes re-cycles.
Here are a few gems that quote pusher, Cassie Murray, has
sent my way:
"Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle
ourselves?" ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself
that one becomes rich."
~ Sarah Bernhardt
I’ve got a whole cadre of book pushers: Akaya Windwood
recycles young adult fiction by passing books on to me, particularly
those with a strong teenaged girl as protagonist. Emily Welch
and Carolyn Murphy push page-turner, or beach-reading novels.
Sue Murray knows what poetry appeals to me and sends only
that which she feels I’ll really like. Bobbi Emel and
Carol McDonald are terrific non-fiction pushers.
not like everything that your pusher pushes! My music pusher,
Bill Faure, usually bats a thousand with his amazing sampler
CDs but occasionally, he does strike out. My movie pushers,
Andrew Ramer, Diane Byster and Michael Sally, don’t always pick films that rivet or resonate.
More often than not, however, pushers enrich our lives, and
bring so much joy that it’s okay if they occasionally
plug something that’s a dud.
are your pushers? What joy have they brought to your life?
If you haven’t enough pushers, why not? Where
might you cultivate pushers to enhance what Nietzsche points
out is our short life?
Be a Pusher
nothing like turning someone on to something that strikes
a chord, sparks a creative burst or simply evokes gratitude.
Being a pusher will bring you joy, too. Toward that end,
I hereby pronounce myself a pusher and offer these recommendations!
movies: Happy-Go-Lucky, High Anxiety, Whale Rider
Young adult novel: Make Lemonade, or Stargirl
Page-turner beach reading: My Sister’s Keeper
Music with meaningful lyrics: “Aretha” by
here to listen.
Poetry: See opposite box.
Just as Death is about to pop
the cookie that is my life
into its mouth I turn
into a screeching blue jay
in the tree above –
dive and steal it back. Ha! Ha!
It’s mine! It’s mine!
You go hungry
Poet Kathleen Flowers died on Easter Sunday. In her short
life, she published Call it Gladness, where this poem appears.
What other types of pushers might co-conspire
to bring more joy to your life? Consider these possibilities:
Adventure Pusher encourages you to move beyond your safety
zone, to take reasonable risks, to step outside “boxes” that
keep you contained, to be more spontaneous.
- A Creativity Pusher tells you to be less concerned
with final product and more interested in just engaging in
the creative process. This individual will celebrate your
self-expression no matter what form it takes.
- A Coach or Trainer Pusher nudges you to follow-through
on stated intentions or goals. S/he helps you figure out
what blocks you and helps strategize how to bypass those
- A Self-Help Pusher will provide support for that
which is challenging you. No, this is not a sales pitch for
getting a therapist. There are many groups that play this
role, and some don’t even cost anything: 12-step fellowships,
grief support groups, parent support groups, babysitting
- What else?
Joy-Gram for April 2009
pushers, not nags, into your life. If you want to be more
of a pusher, tell one person (or more) about a movie or
book that you highly recommend.
the blooming iris, and in the shade of our grapefruit tree,
mutual pushers and long-time friends, Sue Murphy Murray and
website, www.Caring.com is dedicated to “Helping
You Help Your Parents,” and it has a wealth of resources.
At this website, I respond to questions posted by readers on
the topics of grief and loss, substance abuse, and caregiver
self-care. If you’d like to locate my responses easily,
type “Martha Clark Scala” in the Find box at
the Home page of this website.
re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click
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By no means
do I have joy “figured out.” Please do not assume
that I do! I write Out On a Limb as much as a meditation for
myself in the ongoing pursuit of joy, as for you. I think this
pursuit is a lifelong journey and that the full experience
of joy is, at best, episodic. May we all have more episodes!
Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •