Monday, March 28, 2005


Taking the right risks

What type of risks to you tend to take? Risks that are well thought beforehand or risks to make you believe that you are a risk taker? Let me explain. Human beings are programmed to grow, not just old, but up. When we don't move out of our comfort zone to risk and grow, our whole being feels uncomfortable. Like wearing your size 8 jeans when you are really a size 10, or 12. When this happens, the discomfort often pushes us to react. That's when we take "foolish" risks, to trick us into thinking that we are indeed more brave. These foolish risks, however, fall more into reckless living than Fearless living. They provide momentary distraction from the discomfort, but do not allow for growth.

Stop fooling yourself. Look at the risks you take. Are they the kind that build your confidence and self-esteem or the kind that simply flatters your ego while you feel like a fraud deep down.

Coaching challenge: List the risks you have taken that have paid off in lasting confidence (pursued your studies, changed jobs, bought your first house, traveled alone, asked for what you wanted, etc. etc.) Add the three risks you have been avoiding and take the first step, today.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Saturday, March 26, 2005



"I am not happy, I am cheerful. There is a difference. A happy woman has no cares at all. A cheerful woman has cares but has learned to deal with them." Beverly Sills, 1929 - American Opera Singer

And maybe, that's what happiness is all about. To learn to deal with our "cares". How do we start to do that? The first step is to accept to feel. As a therapist, I know the value of helping clients feel and learn to deal with the feeling in a healthy way, however painful the feeling is. What works in therapy is also valid for everybody who does not need therapy but still has life situations that bring up feelings we would rather not have. And we all have those. Some people say they don't, but I believe that a large portion of the population is terminally disconnected to themselves.

Raphael Cushnir in his book, Setting your Heart on Fire, explains how shutting out our feelings just keeps them stuck inside where they continue to torment us and how we consequently spend our lives acting out what's bothering us.

The only way out of the misery is through. Feel fully. Easy to say you may think.
I know from experience that feeling the pain and staying with it is a process that works. The more present we are to what we feel, the more empowered we become. The more present, the more chances to take effective action to change what's not working.

Next time you hear yourself thinking "I don't want to feel that" or you see yourself reaching for your usual non-effective way out, stop. Stay with what's happening. That's the only way you can make the changes that will give you happiness.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Self-awareness and perfectionism

You know that you have some self-awareness when you know that you don't have it all the time. Until you are ready to shed the perfect public image, self-awareness remains in the background. Self-awareness implies the capacity for reflection on one's behaviour and thinking and being able to say, "Ah! now I understand - I see how my thinking was influenced by: what had just happened and how I was feeling at that moment, my assumption about (blank), the beliefs I have developed as a result of my upbringing, etc. etc. etc. One of the reasons self-awareness is sometimes a challenge, is because it brings up how we judge ourselves and when the judgment is harsh, it becomes easier to push consciousness under the rug. Perfectionism (judging your worth by your productivity, accomplishment, looks or anything else you do) can be in just one area of your life and still cause extreme damage because you beat yourself up for not being up to unattainable standards: it can affect you whether you get your self-worth from how you keep floors so clean one could eat off (who would want to, anyway?) or your brand of perfectionism has to do with work competence (one I am more familiar with personally)

Next time you are tempted to push self-awareness away, remember that you don't have to listen to the voice of your inner-critic that tells you to beat yourself up.Remeber that this is the voice of fear. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect, take a deep breath and examine what has happened. If it's something you can change, take action and do it. If it's not, decide to drop it and to do different in the future. Choose to not blame, either yourself or others. Consciously face your inner critic and don't let it win. You don't have to be perfect.

P.S. Visit a great place:
Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


Especially for you

A short movie:

Marguerite Tennier

Friday, March 11, 2005


How flexible are you?

I am not talking about physical flexibility here. What I mean is do you follow a rigid pattern? Eat the same food, do the same kind of exercise, take the same route to work everyday? Moving out of the same routine can be good for the soul. When was the last time you tried a new sport? Read a different kind of book? Ate at an unfamiliar restaurant? Chose the scenic route instead of the quickest route?

Coaching challenge: If you normally run, jog or swim competitively, challenge yourself to sign up for a series of yoga or tai chi class. Don't do team sport? Join a volleyball team. Meat and potato person? Take a thai cooking class or visit a new restaurant. Too shy to dance? Sign up for salsa (my favorite) or ballroom. Trying something new will keep you mentally younger.

DO YOU LIVE IN OTTAWA? Free meditation classes this Sunday, March 13.
At 1:00 p.m. in Pavillon Lamoureux, University of Ottawa
At 7:00 p.m. at Carleton University
For info: 232-2387

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


An Overachiever's day is never done

What's the difference between a high achiever and an overachiever? A high achiever can rest, relax and enjoy his or her success or achievement. The overachiever on the other hand is never satisfied. The success that was supposed to bring a sense of satisfaction is never enough. The overachiever continually puts pressure on self to do more. This quest to do more is really a compensation for not being able to feel "being more" or "being enough". The one word that keeps on appearing when we refer to overachevers is "perfectionism".

How do you know if you are an overachiever? You take on and work sixty-hour weeks to prove that you can do the job that has burned out three of your predecessors. You are proud for being such a trouper and never complaining. Inside you fear that you are not quite good enough. You persevere even when the boat is taking you under.
You avoid feeling. You stay in your head until you need some relief and often find the relief in another "thing" - be it tv,noise, shopping, a bigger car or a McHouse or some other substance. And the relief is short-lived. Then you beat yourself up.

It's not the time to beat yourself up. Fear is clouding your judgment and preventing you to feel what's really happening. Individuals who constantly beat themselves up rarely "deserve" all that they are piling onto themselves. Yes, you may need to make some changes in how you do things, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with "who" you are.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


International Women's Day 2005

If you read only one book this year, make it "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Read it until you "get" it. Getting it is not understanding it with the mind. It means being able to be totally in the Now and experiencing total inner peace and joy. (Joy comes from within - don't confuse it with pleasure). It means the end of suffering while on earth. The more you are someone who has lived in your mind (and in the past and future) the more this book, if you practice it, can save your life. While reading it, I was able to relate to living in the Now, not always mind you. I am not there yet. But more and more each day and I could relate to the being one with the universe, in total peace. Being in the Now connects you to the essence of who you are. I cannot do justice to the book. Get it for yourself and read it until you get it.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Overachievers, take a breath of fresh air

I feel fortunate that as a young child I spent my summers by the sea, in a small village in the Gaspe area. I think it was those summers picking wild strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and playing along the shore collecting seashells that instilled in me a deep appreciation of nature. There was no TV and few toys. Playing outside was it. To this day, I love being in nature, whether for a walk by the river in a large city park or in the wild areas of the Gatineau or the Laurentians.

If you are an overachiever, you most likely feel a twinge of anxiety most of the time. A sense of urgency. Too many projects, not enough hours. You may not be ready for a full week of wilderness camping. Start with a slow walk in a city park at lunch time. Slow enough to take the time to see what's around you, to hear the birds. Slow means slow down and then slow down some more until it becomes totally unlike your usual pace. Leave the office behind. Concentrate on the sounds and sights of nature. Set a ritual to do it at a specific time on specific days of the week. Write it down in your day planner and respect that date with yourself.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Working from home

Reaching and maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life is a challenge for many people. Most professionals I speak with admit that they don't take the time to get out of the office for a breath of fresh air at lunch time; they often, in fact mostly, eat at their desk on less than healthy food and the net result is that many are mal-nourished, whether they are over or underweight. If you are a professional with a home office, the challenge for balance becomes even greater. I know my greater challenge to drink my litre of water is on the days I work from home. It also gets easier on those days to just grab something from the fridge and the piece of dark chocolate becomes very tempting when I have not planned for healthy vegetables.

If you are struggling with your weight, it's probably got to do with a)stress; b) lack of exercise and c) what you eat. Scrutinize your lifestyle and choose one area where you want to start making changes. It's possible to be successful and healthy.

Marguerite Tennier, M.A.

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