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

Do What You Love

Some folks are fortunate to do what they love to do and get paid for it. I bet most professional skiers, for example, love to ski. I suspect most professional musicians play an instrument or use their voice because it is their passion. If you have a job that allows you to do what you love to do, I send a heartfelt hallelujah! But what if you don’t? What if you punch the proverbial clock and you are not able to enjoy what occupies so much of your time? What if your trade or profession involves an activity that you enjoy but it also requires tedious paperwork or long, boring meetings? Does the percentage of time you get to spend doing what you love get diminished by all of the other obligations? If we answer “yes” to any of these questions, the challenge is to find our way back to more joy, more doing what we love to do. But how?

Career change is always an option, or is it? Financial or familial responsibilities may preclude you from being able to pursue your passion 24-7. Sure, there are still the “starving artists” in this world and for some, this is an acceptable way of living. For others, practical needs or considerations take precedence. Your UPS driver may be a closet screenwriter. Your food-server may have stayed up half the night rehearsing lines for the community theater production of “Scrooge.” The day job pays the rent or makes it possible to hire a skilled editor or a fabulous voice coach. The moonlighting occupation is what makes that food-server willing to wait on tables.

In workshops on the need for self-care for caregivers, I often ask participants what strategies they use to nurture or replenish their weary souls. I credit one participant for embellishing a strategy I often discuss which entails carving out inviolable time in one’s calendar. This young woman raised her hand and said,

“Oh, that’s when I use the MT code.”


“MT. As in Me-Time.”

Her point was that if she looked at her calendar and it was “just” blank, or had a line through it, she had a harder time saying “No” to someone asking her to book an appointment. If she saw “MT,” it was easier for her to say, “Sorry, I already have that time booked.”

If we fail to carve out the time to do what we love, the chances of getting to do that which brings us joy are diminished. May November be not just about carving turkeys, but time-carving, too.

Not Enough Time

Plan on it: the primary protest you will hear in your head is some variation of “but I don’t have enough time to just sit and play the piano, or watch the hummingbirds flit through the garden.” I will simply fight back with “Yes, you do.” You may have to work hard to counter the belief that you need big chunks of time to do what you love. For some activities, this is true. Start small! Try carving out five to thirty minutes to do some activity that brings you joy or contributes to a feeling of expansion rather than contraction. And beware, the “not enough time” complaint often covers for a bigger challenge: not believing you deserve to do what you love.



I’d like to wave a magic wand and wipe out an insidious epidemic of “not deserving.” The most common denominator I have discovered in what stops people from doing what they love to do is an absent deserving “muscle.” I’ve had people look at me like I was crazy when I had the audacity to suggest they deserved more joy in their lives. A common protest is, “I don’t get to do that.” My only reply is “Why not?” As they say in the 12-step fellowships, don’t quit before the miracle happens. Ask yourself, “why not?” And then say “Nonsense” to whatever reason your undeserving self offers! Don’t we all deserve to do what we love, whether it is our job, second job, hobby, or calling?

Your November 2011 Prompts for Joy

Click here for a fabulous example of someone doing what they love ... and it only took 4 ½ minutes!.

Click here to hear voices that are bound to make you smile.

Thank you, Randy Chaney for the link to The Voca People, and to numerous readers who told me about our young conductor.

Joy-Gram for November 2011

Don’t rule out the possibility that you could do what you love and get paid for it. Allow yourself to imagine how you could incorporate what you love in a formal or informal job description. Why not?

Pictured Above

Even as a kid, I loved to be by the ocean. If you don’t even know what you love to do, answers can often be found by mining the past for memories of what gave you pleasure.

Instant Support

It can be incredibly difficult to do what you love when you are grieving ... and yet, it may be a time when you most need to participate in that enjoyable activity. For 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.

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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