Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
January 2009
 
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January 2009

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … it’s about dancing in the rain.”

I first heard this quote from a client. Now, it seems to have become almost as ubiquitous as “Have a Nice Day” or “One Day at a Time!” My mother (above, in red) would have given her seal of approval for this quote’s message. She grew up in a pretty stormy household, and then she married my father, whom she sometimes referred to as Eeyore in his declining years. For those not acquainted with Eeyore, he’s the most gloomy of characters in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories. My Mom outlived my Dad, grieved too many pets to count, and, perhaps most devastating of all, her son predeceased her by 12 years. Despite all of that, she found numerous ways to dance in the rain. As we near the one-year anniversary of my Mom’s death, it seems only fitting to pay tribute to the positive outlook she brought to all of those who crossed her path.

Don’t get me wrong: she did have her difficult and down times. On what turned out to be her last visit with one of her best friends, Sue, she apparently walked into Sue’s house and commanded “let’s have a bitch session.” But in the aftermath of her death, Sue noted how rare this was. Nine times out of ten, if Mom caught herself on the “pity pot,” she’d pull herself off by reminding herself of how much worse someone else’s circumstances were. Mom’s gift of perspective endures. Thanks to her ability to dance in the rain, I usually do too. If you haven’t a good role model for this, I implore you to FIND ONE!

     






In Praise of Not Always Acting Your Age

I’ll just let this photo be a picture that is worth a thousand words. It is one of my absolute favorites and it was taken at Sandy Neck Beach in West Barnstable, Massachusetts where I logged many miles with my mother, some of them in a downpour of rain.

 

     

Last Dance

It now seems so poignant that one of Mom’s favorite songs, other than those from the Glenn Miller/Tommy Dorsey/Artie Shaw era, was Donna Summer’s Last Dance. She liked to play it while cleaning house. I wish it had occurred to me to ask her if she liked the song for the lyrics, or the upbeat energy. All I know is that the song would start, and it was as if she’d just gotten a feel-good prescription of the natural variety! We all need a song (or twenty!) with the capacity to uplift even a heavy heart. Call it musical Prozac!

     

Joy-Gram for January 2009

Create a play-list of your own collection of “musical Prozac.” If you’ve got an IPod, you probably already have all of the songs on your list. If you’re still in the dark ages like me, you could burn a CD with your favorites. Most CD’s have enough room for about 18 songs. But it won’t bring you any joy unless you PLAY IT and play it often!

 

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Disclaimer
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
info@MCScala.com

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