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is meant to invite and inspire you to maximize the joy in
***** MFTs, LCSWs and RNs: Earn 6 CEUs for Taking Care of
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
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:
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
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.?
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.
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
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
August 2010 Prompts for Joy
here for a brief look at miniature schnauzer, Bandit,
after his bath.
here for a fun duet!
With thanks to Bill Scala for the first video, and Judi
Larson for telling me about the second.
for August 2010
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?
That’s your Out on a Limb editor, standing outside
her favorite Salt Water Taffy store in Bodega Bay, California.
Photograph by Bill Scala.
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 •