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

In February, as if rain and snow aren’t enough precipitation, you will be showered by reds and pinks as you stroll through just about any shopping venue. Those colors, hearts, and big boxes of chocolate remind you, just in case you’ve forgotten, that Valentine’s Day is approaching fast. Do you know how many single, unattached people DREAD February 14th? It’s the one day of the year when not having a sweetheart can be downright painful. It is not really just one day; look at all of the buildup! The decorations were in most stores by January 15th.

Any time we are out-of-sync with what’s happening in our outer world, joy may seem quite elusive. Perhaps an act of defiance restores the joy. For example, a grieving person refuses to pretend Christmas or New Year’s Eve is a happy time and foregoes many of the usual holiday parties. Instead, s/he stays home and enjoys a movie marathon, or books a getaway to the sea or snow. Going against the grain can bring energy, satisfaction, empowerment.

Perhaps what will summon joy is to be congruent, which would probably entail feeling the lousy emotions of sadness or loneliness. This may seem counter-intuitive but sometimes just being where you are, whether it’s geographically or emotionally, is a good strategy for ultimately accessing joy.

What Embraces You?

In the Prologue to his memoir, The Tender Bar, J.R. Moehringer writes:

"While I fear that we're drawn to what abandons us, and to what seems most likely to abandon us, in the end I believe we're defined by what embraces us."

Did you notice that Moehringer used the word “what” rather than who? What embraces you? It could be your sweetheart or other people in your life, but it also might be places, animals, things, situations. What might happen if we were only drawn to what embraces us?

  Embraceable You

The lyrics to the Gershwin brothers’ song, Embraceable You, are suitable for Valentine’s Day.
Embrace me
My sweet embraceable you
Embrace me
My irreplaceable you

But what if you tweak the lyrics a bit? Heck, Frank Sinatra did! What if you embrace you? Make a daily practice of this and it won’t matter if you’re single, allergic to red and pink, or out-of-sync in any other way: you can always be your own Valentine on February 14th or any other day.


Your February 2010 Prompts for Joy

Click here for Susan Boyle’s first appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Here is someone who embraces herself! (Thank you, Michael Sally).

Click here for Sarah Vaughn’s version of “Embraceable You.”

Pictured Above

Bandit was a beloved pet who embraced me 24/7.

Joy-Gram for February 2010

It’s time to spread some joy around. How about if we expand the definition of sweetheart? How about if we ask ALL of the sweet hearts in our life to be our Valentine?

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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