Michelle Novello Coaching | Blog
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This is a random collection of books, talks, quotes, and reflections that have educated and inspired my life and my coaching. My intention is to enrich and inspire you.

24 Nov Pollyanna

Pol·ly·an·naˌpälēˈanə/noun 1. an excessively cheerful or optimistic person. (I had no idea this had become a noun in the dictionary!)

Pollyanna was a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter made into a Disney film in 1960. Anyone who actually remembers seeing it, might remember it as a silly, corny, feel-good movie; simplistic in its message and delivery. However as I’ve grown older, I’m hereby confessing that I purchased the movie and have made it my go-to movie when I’ve had a particularly negative day!  When I’ve shared this with a few of my colleagues, they gasp in disbelief or roar with laughter (both the fact of it, and then that I’m admitting it)!

Why would I ever admit this in a public forum? Well, why not? There are countless things we can do to change our thoughts, change what we’re focusing on. But it’s knowing that it matters that we do, that would have us WANT to change our thinking. How many cumulative hours have I spent ruminating, angry, finger-pointing, victimized? It’s amazing how little it accomplishes, even if I get agreement from others. It keeps me in a negative frame of mind. And that’s not terribly productive, nor conducive to having others want to hang out with me.

I came across this tiny little pamphlet, The 7 Day Mental Diet by Dr. Emmet Fox. It’s VERY COOL! Only 15 pages (4″x6″), and suggests altering our trajectory by spending 7 days deliberately eliminating negative thoughts. And if you need to know why, the science behind what our thoughts do to us, I HIGHLY recommend Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin (this is more about the connection of our body’s physiological response to our thinking in terms of healing) or Daniel Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. These last two books are great for those who require scientific evidence for claims that are not discussed in everyday medicine.

The bottom line is that our thoughts create our reality, not vice-versa. And that means that we have a lot of say over the experience of our lives. And back to Pollyanna creating the Glad Game – finding something to be glad about in any circumstance, certainly is a game worth considering!

12 Nov Consider: anger is never justified.

Anger takes over an otherwise rational, peaceful human being. And when anger runs rampant, most often we are left with righteousness or shame, depending on how we justify our anger. In one of my readings from The Course in Miracles, a line that struck me like a lightning bolt: anger is never justified.

When I suggested that to the 25 men in my prison program, you can bet I got serious backlash. When I suggested it to a very outraged, angry client, there wasn’t even an opening for discussion.

But why not start with: anger is never justified? If we stand there, then we have to start looking at how/why we do justify our anger, what we get out of it, and what it does to our minds/bodies.

It might be justified. Someone hits your brand new car and totaled it. Anger is certainly a common response, and we could say justified. However, the damage is done. It can’t be undone. The other person may have been texting, as happened with me a year ago, my car may have been totaled, as happened to me, but totaled is totaled. Not to be undone.

Many would argue for anger being justified. But what are other possible responses? Concerned that the other person is OK? Concerned that I’m dazed and can’t think straight? Instead, for me, the accident provoked serious thinking about why would I have this this happen at this point in my life? I stepped away and looked at the bigger picture. A  friend  offered his energy/healing services after that accident. And lo and behold, I discovered that I wasn’t getting sufficient attention at work for my experience, expertise. You might say that makes no sense. But for me, I always look at the big picture. What is the gift in this happening now. It’s a great way to live life, looking at whatever happens to you as a gift for the next step of your growth and expansion as a human being.

That lesson was profound. I went back to work after recuperating and noticed my mind start to go down that rabbit hole when I was ignored or stepped over for various things in my position. As soon as I saw it, I was able to let it go. Illimitably freeing.

I try to bring that to my clients, when they are willing. I can’t say it outright, but I can bring it into the conversation: what is the lesson here to be learned by what just happened? Some people resist and argue. Some speculate, and sometimes come to new heightened awarenesses about themselves on this planet. It’s an awesome journey, filled with life lessons, if we look at them from that non-intuitive point of view.

And in the end, who suffers the anger? Our physiology gets messed up, our minds ruminate endlessly, we lose out on a lot. Then there’s that F word: forgiveness. Gandhi said: The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. We actually have a choice in the moments we step back and look at a situation, look at the fact that we’re about to get angry – and in that moment of self-awareness, we really can choose something else; and in the end, feel better.

12 Nov Is Anger Justified?

I’m facilitating a leadership program for 25 incarcerated men. These men have countless experiences of “justified” anger. At times, they are treated less than human, and made well aware of the fact that they have no power over almost anything. Even though you and I can freely move about, we too are locked up when we sit around and ruminate about rights and wrongs “done to us”, abut how things “should be”  in our  minds. We too “justify” our anger.

An excerpt from the forward of Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning: “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

Our participants are doubly locked up: physically and in their minds. To bring freedom to them by exploring new ways of looking at the world can be quite challenging, particularly in a facility where our participants have been dubbed “state property.” They have no control over what happens, but they absolutely have a say in their responses. I’m glad to be able to explore perspectives with them such that living behind bars can be seen in another light; the light where they do have power.

We will spend five months together, once a week, arguing exploring, discussing, and in the end, discovering a new way of looking at the situation. When that lightbulb goes on, I get shivers, even writing this to you right now. The lightbulb moments I never forget.

And for myself, I like to live with the adage that “anger is never justified” (Course in Miracles) – it has me do a little more self examination than be powerless in the face of others’ actions that impact me.

26 Mar Now is Now

In recent conversations with friends about beliefs or disbeliefs about the afterlife, I have come to see that our belief is irrelevant to how we live our lives now. It was illimitably freeing to come to this awareness, as those who don’t believe in an afterlife, will live fully because this is it; and those of us who do believe in an afterlife, why would we live any less fully? The point of now is Now!

We can contemplate, believe, conjure up, follow the beliefs of our religion, but I think it all leads to the same end. Live well. Live now. Live fully. And add gratitude for what we do have, along the way.
When my dad was in his last couple weeks, I discovered a poetry book his mom had given him when he was 8 years old. He had starred a number of poems, which I read to him while he lay in bed. This one became one of my favorites, The Now by Eugene F. Ware; an excerpt:
“. . . Away with the flimsy idea that life with a past is attended,
There’s Now — only Now, and no Past—there’s never a past;
it has ended.

Away with its obsolete story and all of its yesterday sorrow;
There’s only today, almost gone, and in front of today
stands tomorrow.”