Martha Clark Scala
Invest in bringing joy back to your life.
September 2007

I told you that I enjoy making up words! The derivation of possibilitate is from my “day job” as a psychotherapist. We are all prone to “black and white thinking” (others refer to this as all-or-nothing or stinking thinking!) and I really get to look at it through a zoom lens in counseling sessions. The most prevalent occurrence of this is when someone characterizes a loved one or colleague as all-good or all-bad. Black-and-white thinking is in full force when it’s impossible to view someone as both good-and-bad, nice-and-difficult, or mean-and-wounded.

Sadly, most of us turn the black-and-white lens on ourselves, too. I’ve heard people say “I will never amount to anything“ or “I’m such a goody-goody.” The problem with these statements is a) they’ll steal your joy away, and b) they allow no room for other possibilities or points of view. Once the black and white beliefs or thoughts are identified, I often ask a client to “gray” what they have said. Notice the difference between “I’m such a loser,” versus “sometimes I shoot myself in the foot, and sometimes I don’t.” Or the difference between “my boss is horrible” versus “my boss can be incredibly hard on me and I bet that means others have been hard on him.” You could say this is about “graying” the black-and-white picture but that sounds a little dull, doesn’t it? Enter “possibilitate,” a verb, which means: to infuse a black-and-white formulation with other possibilities, i.e. with color, texture, nuance.

Speaking of New Words

My friend Emily (see picture in upper left corner), whom I’ve known since 3rd grade, reported that “ginormous” is now an official word. I don’t think I need to provide a definition! Having just spent some delightful vacation time with Emily and her family, I want to add this to the list of activities that might bring joy back to your life. Hang out with an old, old pal, preferably one who loved you unconditionally and/or one who makes you giggle. It’s a great way to connect with a younger part of yourself or an era of your life that was more fun and carefree.



A Pantoum is a poem with a very specific form that prescribes the structure. For those who are shy or intimidated by writing poetry, I recommend using a formatted structure. The structure could be intimidating, but I’ve learned that it sort of does some of the work for you. Any activity that can me made more of a game than an arduous challenge, is good for eliciting joy.

For an example of a playful Pantoum I wrote for Emily’s 50th birthday, click here.


The Joy of Giving

Even when my cupboard seems bare, I get tremendous joy by making a gift or donation to a worthy individual or group. The Life Transitions Network (LTN) offers education and emotional support services to people coping with myriad losses and life changes. Their 1st Annual Online Auction ( will help LTN support its workshop scholarship fund. Workshops focus compassionately on the traumas of loss, abuse, illness, dying and death with a combination of teachings, personal sharing, creative processes and deep emotional release work (Externalization Process). Please consider a donation to this valuable not-for-profit organization via either a donated item or service for the auction, or bidding for items when the auction begins on October 15th. For more info on LTN: Thank you!


Forward March!

At the bottom of this page, you’ll see a “Forward email” link in blue ink. If you click that link, you’ll see it’s quite easy to send this on to someone else. If you want, please encourage them to subscribe, by sending an e-mail to This newsletter subscription is 100% free; all it “costs” is the time and energy you choose to invest in bringing joy back to your life.


Joy-Gram for September

Identify any black-and-white, all-or-nothing thoughts/beliefs that you have, and “possibilitate” to your hearts’ content. If it lightens your load, I want to hear about it!


Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •

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