Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
April 2009
Welcome 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 your life. To Subscribe, click here.

Get Yourself a Pusher!

Before 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

"Life 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.

You may 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.

So who 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

There’s 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!

Delightful 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 Rumer Click here to listen.
Poetry: See opposite box.


Poetry Push

Not So Fast

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
this time.

Poet Kathleen Flowers died on Easter Sunday. In her short life, she published Call it Gladness, where this poem appears.


Pusher Possibilities

What other types of pushers might co-conspire to bring more joy to your life? Consider these possibilities:

  • An 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 blocks.
  • 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 co-ops, etc.
  • What else?

Joy-Gram for April 2009

Invite 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.

Pictured Above

Amongst the blooming iris, and in the shade of our grapefruit tree, mutual pushers and long-time friends, Sue Murphy Murray and yours truly.


The 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.


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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

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