Out on a Limb
A Monthly Newsletter from Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
October 2008
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. To Subscribe, click here.

October 2008

Why Can’t You Be More Like Me?

Conflict arises in our relationships when we get entrenched in our view of how something should be done. It can be about something profoundly mundane such as how a dishwasher should be loaded, how a t-shirt should be folded, or how to poach an egg. It can also be about big things such as a life philosophy of “work now, play later” versus a philosophy that prefers the reverse: “I better play now; the work will be there later.” Implicit in our struggles with one another is the question, “Why can’t you be more like me?” And implicit in that question is the belief that “my way is better.” This struggle between my One Right Way versus your One Right Way results in polarities. The following is a list of some of the polarities that sap the joy out of our relationships:

  • Neat vs. Messy
  • Clutter vs. Sparse
  • Save vs. Toss/Recycle
  • Democrat vs. Republican
  • Generous vs. Stingy
  • Conservative vs. Liberal
  • Introvert vs. Extrovert
  • Thinker vs. Feeler
  • Problem-solving vs. Processing
  • Anxious vs. Depressed
  • Seeks stimulation vs. Easily over-stimulated
  • Spend vs. Scrimp
  • Plan Ahead vs. Be Spontaneous
Why is it that we get so attached to, if not tyrannical about, our One Right Way? Imagine if all paintings were painted the same way --- BORING! Imagine if all houses were decorated the same way, or if all gardens had the same plants in it! As the old saying explained, variety really is the spice of life. So how do we keep it spicy without waging war?
Try Tolerance

By attempting to appreciate, rather than scorn, the ways in which we are different, we are on the right track. It may be too tall an order to celebrate another person’s style, manner or preferences, but it’s worth trying. There is more than one way to peel an apple , including not peeling it all!

For more explicit tips on tolerance, click here.


Three-part Harmony

One of my favorite songs is the version of James Taylor’s You Can Close Your Eyes performed by Carly Simon, Ben Taylor and Sally Taylor. The three different voices blend to enrich the sound and the song. If they all sang the same notes, it’d still be a nice song, but it’s really the contrast in voice and sound that makes beautiful music. Tolerance promotes an appreciation of all the voices that come together to create harmony.


Joy-Gram for October

Don’t        vote! Hah, I got your attention, didn’t I? Well, that’s what Leonardo DiCaprio and company have attempted to do by creating a non-partisan video for you to view, and pass on to your friends … especially those who may not yet be registered to vote. Click here or use this url, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vtHwWReGU0, to view the video. It’ll take less than 5 minutes.



The website, www.Caring.com is dedicated to “Helping You Help Your Parents,” and it has a wealth of resources. I respond to questions posted by readers on the topics of grief and loss, substance abuse, and caregiver self-care. If you’d like to locate my responses easily, type “Martha Clark Scala” in the Find box at the Home page of this website.


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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

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