Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
December 2011



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.

Honor Those Don’t Wanna’s

Typically, there are four weekends between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Let’s say you get invited to a holiday gathering on one or more of those weekends. So far, so good, right? Not necessarily! Suppose you are an introvert, or you are in an acute stage of grief. You may be grateful for the invitation; it is nice to be included in other people’s celebrations. But will you want to go out and be around a bunch of people, some whom you may not even know, and make merry? Not necessarily! So why force it? Why not give yourself complete permission to honor that “don’t wanna” voice within? Why not give yourself the latitude to say “maybe” if you are not sure if you are up for something social? Most hosts will understand a “maybe” reply to their invitation, and if they cannot muster empathy for your indecision, that might move you from a “maybe” to a “no!”

The challenge is to allow for individual differences, some of which are about innate personality, and some of which are more situational. If you have always preferred one-on-one interactions or small gatherings, it might be a royal s-t-r-e-t-c-h for you to attend a party of 10 to 100 or more, especially if you don’t know most of the people in the crowd. Why should the holiday season be the time of year when you do what brings more discomfort than pleasure?

Two situational variables that could increase the volume of the don’t wanna voice are grief and/or illness or injury, in yourself or a loved one. I know some off-the-charts extraverts, for example, who have found it very difficult to do their usual holiday routine when they were grieving the death of a family member, fighting off a nasty, contagious flu or hobbling around on crutches.

No Matter What Season

Maximize the joy in your life by honoring the “don’t wanna’s” that crop up at any time, not just during the festive season. Your neighbors may be the first to get their tomato seedlings in the ground but why try to muster enthusiasm for this in your garden if you aren’t feelin’ it yet? Everyone may rush to the beach for a swim on the hottest day of the summer but you may not want to go because you’re reading the last chapters of a totally gripping novel, or perhaps you just want the peace and quiet in the household after the beach-goers depart. Is there anything wrong with that? I sure hope not.


Things Change

Today’s don’t wanna might be tomorrow’s full-bodied “YES!” The lyrics from the song made famous by The Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn” come to mind. “To every thing, turn, turn, turn, there is a season.” I experienced this on the 1st of December when I had planned on writing this newsletter. My don’t wanna was fueled by fatigue more than anything else. Give a gal some decent sleep, and she’s back in the wanna column! So remember, your don’t wanna’s aren’t always permanent states of mind. Perhaps the don’t wanna is a veiled request for doing something else that really nourishes or gives you joy.


Grieving During the Holidays?

If this month’s topic resonates because you are grieving, you might particularly like to read “Is it Normal Not to Feel Social After Someone Close to Me Has Died?” For other responses to Frequently Asked Questions that I have written for the incredibly useful website, www.caring.com, click the Grief FAQ link at the top of this page.

Your December 2011 Prompts for Joy

Click here for some flowers that will brighten any wintery day.

Click here to see a Wow! moment delivered by nature.

Nancy Clark and Claudette Bergman are this month’s elves who provided links to these Prompts for Joy. Thanks, gals!

Joy-Gram for December 2011

Allow yourself to live by the lyrics from the chorus of a Mamas and the Papas song: You gotta go where you wanna go, Do what you wanna do, With whoever you want to do it with (But don’t pay attention to the rest of that song ‘cause it’s not as relevant!)

Pictured Above

You tell me: does this cat, whose name was Night Train Lane, wanna or not wanna be out in the snow? This is a treasured photograph by my Dad, Geoffrey Clark.

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 •

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