Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
August 2010
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.

***** MFTs, LCSWs and RNs: Earn 6 CEUs for Taking Care of Yourself! *****

Plan on attending A Very Full Plate: Nourishing Your Self While Treating Grief & Loss on October 15, 2010, in Palo Alto, CA. In my workshops, I aim for an experiential learning environment that will be both nurturing and fun. I hope you will join me! For more info, click here!

Chi Suckers, Re-Visited

The July 2010 issue of Out on a Limb on Chi Suckers elicited quite a response! First, I must clarify that I did not coin this term. I heard about it from my fabulous acupuncturist, and she heard about it from hers. Second, one of my readers posed the following question: “How do I avoid BEING a Chi Sucker?” I replied back with this observation: if you are worried about being a chi sucker, you probably aren’t one because you have enough self-awareness to ask the question! But here is my longer answer to her query:

Without a doubt, we are ALL capable of being Chi Suckers. Sorry for the bad news, folks. Here’s why: at some point(s) in our lives, our energy or needs or in some cases, the lack thereof, will have a draining effect on someone else. As my acupuncturist pointed out, Chi Suckers leave people feeling exhausted and/or guilty. To her short list, I add the following: exasperated, fed-up, depleted, used, abused, uncharacteristically irritable, or even physically ill. So, if you think about the sum of your life thus far, I am willing to bet you can think of a time when your behavior had this kind of effect on someone else. Don’t beat yourself up: it’s rather Chi-sucking to try and be perfect!

I wish I could offer a definitive checklist of personality traits that capture the profile of a Chi Sucker but it really depends on too many factors. For example, the “P.O.W.” (which stands for Piece of Work) personality comes to mind. How do we agree on what constitutes a P.O.W.?

It’s All in the Eyes of the Beholder.

One person’s P.O.W. is another person’s delightful companion, co-worker, friend or relative! One person might find someone who fails to express an opinion about anything utterly annoying. Another might find it pleasantly refreshing! Conversely, some people find it difficult to hang out with highly controlling or opinionated folks. Others might be delighted to spend time with someone who is so willing to be decisive or forthright. So even if you are a Chi Sucker, or P.O.W., it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same impact on everyone. The trick is to spend most of your time with people who don’t feel exhausted or guilty or any of those other things when you are around them.


3 Easy Steps

1) Be observant about how others are responding to you. If you sense they are responding as if you are a Chi Sucker or P.O.W., ask if this is true. If so, ask what you can do to rectify? You may need to give them some breathing room.

2) Nurture and pamper yourself. The more you take care of you, the less you place responsibility on others to do it for you.

3) Do a self-assessment. Do you monopolize conversations? Do others appear to be tuning you out, nodding off, ignoring you? If this is true, try to shift the focus of attention off of yourself for awhile. Be more vigilant about this in interactions.

Your August 2010 Prompts for Joy

Click here for a brief look at miniature schnauzer, Bandit, after his bath.

Click here for a fun duet!

With thanks to Bill Scala for the first video, and Judi Larson for telling me about the second.

Joy-Gram for August 2010

If you see ways in which you are a Chi Sucker to others, see if you can identify unmet needs that lie underneath the behavior. And then ask yourself, how might I get these needs met? For example, let’s say people respond to you like you’ve got bad breath when what you are feeling is insecure. Underneath that insecurity, what needs aren’t being met? You might need praise, attention, hand-holding, reassurance, etc. Now, how might you go about getting what you need?

Pictured Above

That’s your Out on a Limb editor, standing outside her favorite Salt Water Taffy store in Bodega Bay, California. Photograph by Bill Scala.


Archives Now Available

To re-read or share past Out On A Limb newsletters, click here, or type the following url into your browser: http://www.mcscala.com/html/EZineArchives.html.

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

To unsubscribe from this list please send an email to info@MCScala.com