Day 659: Undone

Why do people (including me) focus on what’s undone, rather than noticing what IS done?

Do you focus on what you’ve left undone, rather than giving yourself credit for what you’ve done? Think about this: every time you make a choice to do something, the things you are NOT doing instead are …..

 

 

 

 

 

infinite.

Infinite things can be very overwhelming and can make people feel undone, don’t you think?  For example, I had a discussion yesterday, at work, with my friend Jan, about Infinity Scarves:

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(I’m done, here, including the link for that photo) (in the past, I’ve come undone about giving credit correctly)

Neither Jan, another great nurse named Arvetta,* nor I want anything to do with those infinity scarves, which look like they’re infinitely difficult to do and undo.

Besides agreeing with Jan and Arvetta about infinty scarves (and other things), here’s something else I did at work yesterday — individual therapy with several people. Every person I saw was painfully aware of what he or she was NOT doing. As a result of those kinds of self-judgmental thoughts, all these people seemed somewhat undone — that is, overwhelmed, lost, depressed, and anxious. When I invited them to look at what they have been doing — and to be more generous, kind and forgiving with themselves —  they all seemed to feel better by the time they were done talking to me.

It is always a privilege, for me, to witness people doing their best to undo old habits of negative self-judgment.

Here’s something else helpful to do:  make lists of what you HAVE done.

For example, yesterday, I

  • worked,
  • played,
  • listened to music,
  • walked,
  • ate,
  • drank water,
  • breathed,
  • read and answered emails,
  • talked to several people, including family members,
  • took my pill, and
  • slept.

I could make a list of what I left undone, yesterday … but I think I’ll leave that infinite undone list alone and undone, for now.

Phew!  That’s a relief.

Sometimes, when we undo old habits and try new ones, we encounter unexpected surprises, challenges, and obstacles.

I just encountered an unexpected surprise, challenge and obstacle, when I searched for the song “Undone” on YouTube.

I was momentarily undone, when I discovered that great blast from the past is really spelled …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undun.” (I wonder if using spaces like that — for emphasis and suspense — which has already been done in this blog post, is effective. No matter what,  I’m not going to undo them.)

Yes, I am a little undone that “Undun” — which, since 1969, I thought was spelled “Undone” — is spelled that way.

What** in this wide dun-green-and-blue-world does “undun”even mean? Is it the opposite of dun?

Here’s what I should probably do next, in this post:  include a definition of dun. Definitions have definitely been done before, in The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally (like, two days ago).

However, I don’t want to include any on-line definitions in this post today.  Been there, done that.  (And as I’ve done before in this blog, I want to remind you that being aware of what you want, and expressing that, helps you avoid becoming undone.)

But before this post is done, I want to give you some idea about what “dun” means. Here’s something I haven’t done yet: checked recent pictures on my iPhone, to see if any of them include the color dun. If they do, I can also be done with the photographic portion of my daily post.

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Yay!

That meal  — with some colors close to dun — was done by Michael, last night, for me and my son Aaron. When I was done, all those colors were wiped clean from that plate.

Is my defining dun done?

If so, that still leaves this task undone: deciding whether to undo what I’ve done in this post so far — in any way — or somehow proceed from here, writing about “undun and/or “undone.”

Honestly, I don’t think I should write a post about “Undun.” Writing about the opposite of a color is just not done.

Should I undo my intention of using the song “Undun” and see if there’s a song somebody else has done, titled “Undone”?

I don’t want to do that, either.

Will I do any harm, if I publish this post with a title “Undone” and a song “Undun”? That often undoes me: worrying that I’ve done something wrong, in any way.

I am not rewriting this post.What’s done is done and (I hope) no harm done.   Here‘s the song:

Done!

Now, guess who*** sang that song!

Is anything left undone, for you, in this post? Also, what tends to make you feel undone? Will you respond to my questions today or leave that undone? And if you leave that undone, will this post help you leave all self-judgment and shame undone?

Here’s what’s left undone for me: I wish to name that I’ve linked to many previous posts today.  Why?  Because I’m proud of what I’ve done!

All doing and undoings here are now done. Many thanks to everybody, everywhere, who does and doesn’t do, including you.


*  When I went to my work email, just now, to double-check the spelling of “Arvetta,”  I received this message TWICE:

Your password will expire in 6 days!

Something else I haven’t done.

** Would anybody like to guess how many times I’ve used the word “What” in the titles of my posts? Right now, to me, it looks like an infinite number.

*** Is knowing who wrote and sang “Undun” done for you? If so, are you undone by puns?

Categories: blogging, personal growth, pride | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 658: Missing and Coming Back

This morning, I’m thinking about things I miss and things that come back.

Some things I miss are not coming back, including the special enchiladas I enjoyed for over twenty-five years at a favorite Mexican restaurant, which is now under different management.

Hmmmm. I thought I’d think of more things I miss that are not coming back, but — for some reason — none of them are coming back to me, right now.

Maybe that’s because I’ve been missing some sleep lately. Any sleep we miss does not come back, I know.

However, some things I miss do come back.

For example, some days ago I wrote about this minor loss: a magazine I’ve subscribed to for many years has changed its format and altered its contents.

When I searched Google for an image of that magazine, the old format I miss just came back to me:

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Here’s the new format:

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It wasn’t so much the old format I’ve been missing, but some of my favorite puzzles. In that most recent edition, much to my delighted surprise — one of my favorite puzzles came back!

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This is what happens, around here, when I try to take photos in the middle of the night (and other times, too).  Here’s an unobstructed shot of my beloved Cryptolists:

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It’s coming back to me how much gratitude I can feel when something I miss comes back.

It’s also coming back to me that I decided, last night, to take my anticoagulant medication …

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… during breakfast, instead of dinner, from now on.* It’s also coming back to me how my boyfriend, Michael, and my son, Aaron, talked to me,  over dinner last night, about ways I might remember to take that one, daily pill, which needs to be taken with food and that comprises all the medication I need to take, at age 61, with my very complicated medical history. Why did the three of us have that discussion last night?  Because it wasn’t coming back to me, while we were eating dinner, whether I had taken my pill.

It’s also coming back to me how much I’ve hated taking medication, since I was a little girl.

Something else that comes back to me, right now:  I truly believe that taking the anti-coagulant with breakfast will come back to me, very easily.

What else comes back (to me and to others)?

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Which reminds me of a song:

According to that  YouTube video description of “The Cat Came Back,”  that’s a “Classic Canadian Cartoon.”  It’s not coming back to me, whether I’ve seen that before.

Somebody I’ve missed listening to — Garrison Keillor –  sang “The Cat Came Back” when I first heard it, if my memory is coming back to me accurately.  However, this is all that comes back for “Cat Came Back Garrison Keillor” on YouTube:

How about this?

Or this?

Is anything, in particular, coming back for you, now?

Thanks to Michael, to Aaron, to cats, to any creature who helped me write this post,  and to all those who came (back) to read this blog today, including — of course! — you.


*  I sent an email to my Primary Care doctor about this change after I published this post. The email that came back explained  why a pill with dinner is better than a pill with breakfast:  this medication would miss having food in the stomach for absorption.  I will go back, as directed. I also don’t want to miss the opportunity to remind my readers: check all medication changes with your doctor!

Categories: blogging, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 657: What Counts

Yesterday’s post was “What matters to you?”   Does it count if today’s title is very similar?

I think it does count. I can’t count the number of times I have told people — in individual and group therapy —  “It counts,” when they try to dismiss some positive action or attribute.

Let’s count how many meanings the word “count” has:

count 1 (kount)
v. count·ed, count·ing, counts
v.tr.
1.
a. To name or list (the units of a group or collection) one by one in order to determine a total; number.
b. To recite numerals in ascending order up to and including: count three before firing.
c. To include in a reckoning; take account of: ten dogs, counting the puppies.
2. Informal
a. To include by or as if by counting: Count me in.
b. To exclude by or as if by counting: Count me out.
3. To believe or consider to be; deem: Count yourself lucky.
v.intr.
1. To recite or list numbers in order or enumerate items by units or groups: counted by tens.
2.
a. To have importance: You really count with me.
b. To have a specified importance or value: Their opinions count for little. Each basket counts for two points.
3. Music To keep time by counting beats.
n.
1. The act of counting or calculating.
2.
a. A number reached by counting.
b. The totality of specific items in a particular sample: a white blood cell count.
3. Law Any of the separate and distinct charges in an indictment.
4. Sports The counting from one to ten seconds, during which time a boxer who has been knocked down must rise or be declared the loser.
5. Baseball The number of balls and strikes that an umpire has called against a batter.
Phrasal Verbs:
count down
To recite numerals in descending order, as during a countdown.
count off
To recite numbers in turn, as when dividing people or things into groups : The 24 children counted off by twos, forming a dozen pairs.
count on
1. To rely on; depend on: You can count on my help.
2. To be confident of; anticipate: counted on getting a raise.
count out
To declare (a boxer) out to have been knocked out by calling out the count.
Idiom:
count heads/noses
To make a count of members, attendees, or participants by or as if by noting bodily presence.
[Middle English counten, from Old French conter, from Latin computre, to calculate : com-, com- + putre, to think; see pau-2 in Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: count1, import, matter, signify, weigh1
These verbs mean to be of significance or importance: an opinion that counts; actions that import little; decisions that really matter; thoughts that signify much; considerations that weigh with her.
count 2 (kount)
n.
1. A nobleman in some European countries.
2. Abbr. Ct. Used as a title for such a nobleman.
[Middle English counte, from Old French conte, from Late Latin comes, comit-, occupant of any state office, from Latin, companion; see ei- in Indo-European roots.]

– from thefreedictionary.com

What else have you been counting, lately?  I’ve been counting

  • calories (very half-heartedly),
  • weeks until winter, and
  • days until my presentation about “The Koplow Method” of group therapy.

Somebody I count on, at work, has labeled the group therapy I do “The Koplow Method.” I’m not sure that title counts, officially.

“The Koplow Method” of blogging includes:

  1. Numbers in the title.
  2. Definitions.
  3. Word play.
  4. Photos.
  5. Music.
  6. Digressions.
  7. True Confessions.
  8. Guessing Games.
  9. Invitations to participate.
  10. Gratitude.

… but who’s counting?

Would anybody like to guess how many cats there are in these photos I took yesterday?

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Did you count how many Counts were in those photos, also?

You can count on me to name what’s left unsaid.  For example, is anybody wondering why I included a sandwich among all those cats and counts, above? Somebody, named Sandra, who has served me, more often than I can count, at a favorite restaurant, recommended I get a sandwich named after her, yesterday.  I’ll count to ten while you guess what’s in that Sandra Special Sandwich.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

It’s a Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich.  Care to count how many times I’ve had one of those?

(Psssst!  The answer is greater than zero and less than 2.)

Will this post — with all its countless hopes, thoughts, feelings, dreams, and meanderings — count, when all is said and done?  Maybe it will, if I include some musical counts. 

There’s counting in these 1, 2, 3 songs:

(Count on finding “The Middle of the Road” by The Pretenders here on YouTube)

(It counts that YouTube has “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, here)

(Bruno Mars is counting in this YouTube video)

If you have any questions or thoughts about anything in this post, I hope you know that they all count.

What counts for me, in the moment?

  1. People I love.
  2. The work I do.
  3. Expressing myself.
  4. Learning.

Speaking of learning, this morning I finished all 3 hundred and 16 pages of Charles Gulotta’s memoir, “The Long Hall.” That book  — shown in the last photo, above, among countless other things — counts a great deal.

I wanted to end this post with a photo of the last page of “The Long Hall,” which says “Thank you,” but — using another Koplow Method — I’ve misplaced my phone (or the phone is taking a break and hiding, really well, somewhere).

So, instead,  I’ll end with another photo I snapped yesterday.

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… all you people who count, out there.


In case this counts for anybody, I DID find my phone, finally, along with the following photo. Can you count the number of things on my son’s back?

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Categories: definition, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 656: What matters to you?

What matters to you?

What matters to me often includes giving some context and history to my writing. For example, over a year and a half ago, I wrote a post with a somewhat similar title to today’s.

Day 133: Maybe anxiety means that something really matters to you.

As a matter of fact, I was anxious yesterday, because I was doing something that really mattered to me (and to other people, too).  Yesterday, I attended a work retreat, where over one hundred doctors, nurses, social workers, medical assistants, and other dedicated employees at a major Boston teaching hospital spent the whole day together off-site, brainstorming and identifying specific ways to make patient care better.

Here’s one of the slides from the excellent opening speech at the retreat, about how much it matters to have a true patient-focus in practice.

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That slide is inviting providers to shift from a focus on problems and complaints  to what really and truly matters to those they serve.

Because of my life-long experiences as a patient in the medical system,  moving this way — from a focus on the weaknesses of patients and the needs of providers, to a focus on the strengths and needs of those who require health care — all matters to me, very deeply.

It matters to me so much,  that I overcame anxiety about speaking my mind in front of over one hundred doctors, nurses, social workers, medical assistants, and other dedicated employees, several times throughout the day.

As a matter of fact, when one of the facilitators at the retreat asked us the first audience-directed question:

What matters to you, to help us start working together today?

I was the first one, in that enormous, packed room, to raise my hand and answer:

Respect.

Throughout the day,  I continued to ask myself the question “What matters to you?” and I maintained the courage to voice those answers out loud. What gave me the courage?  Realizing that my experience, thoughts, and feelings mattered

  • to me and
  • to others.

As I was driving home at the end of the day, thinking about all I had witnessed and learned at the retreat, I stopped the car and walked back a ways, to take this photo:

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Apparently, that mattered to me, too.

Somebody who matters a great deal to me — my 16-year-old son, Aaron — is taking the PSATs  at his school this morning. I think it matters that he eat some friggin’ thing before that test, so it matters to me that he just agreed to eat some of this:

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Music also matters to me, so I’m wondering if it matters which song I include in this post.

Because your feedback matters to me, I was going to ask for requests, but then this tune showed up, twice:

(“Money Don’t Matter 2 Night” by Prince found here and here on YouTube)

Thanks to all those who matter to each other, including you, of course!

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 655: How to freak less

I’ve written four previous posts with the word “freak” in them:

  1. Day 243: Freaked-out-nomics
  2. Day 370: Reasons why snail mail freaks me out
  3. Day 405: Freaking Out 
  4. Day 641: Lots of freakin ____

… so I think it’s about time I focused on something useful, like How to Freak Less.

Yesterday, I freaked less on my drive to work because I took my time getting there. Even when my GPS system, Waze, reported

Watch out. Heavy traffic ahead.

… I remained calm. As a matter of fact, I was glad for the traffic, because it allowed me to take these photos, through my rainy window:

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After I parked my car, I took my time walking to work.

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To recap: freak less by taking more time.

Then, when I was at work, I walked by a door that has, already, appeared in this blog four times before (here, here, here, and here):

IMG_0175.

This time, the door was open, so I introduced myself to the inhabitant of that office, Sandy.  I told Sandy that

  • her sign has appeared in this blog,
  • people had speculated whether the sign said, “hope” or “nope,” and
  • I was very pleased the sign said “hope.”

Sandy invited me into her office, and I saw many more things that pleased me, including:

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Those three paintings were done by Sandy’s three daughters.

I liked this sign, too.

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As I was leaving, Sandy changed the sign on her door.

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To recap:  freak less by walking through doors, meeting new people, and seeing new things.

Last night, I facilitated a therapy group where people shared their experience of dealing with transitions.

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To recap: freak less by sharing more.

Speaking of sharing, I’d like to share a tune I heard on my way home, after work.

Actually, before that, I’d like to share how I first encountered this song, when I was a kid:

Wow!  After all the living I’ve done since I first saw  “A Lot of Living to Do” (from the movie Bye Bye Birdie), I can see there’s

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50’s and 60’s stuff there.

Eeeeek!  Hold on! I can’t find Pat Metheny’s amazing version of “A Lot of Living to Do” on YouTube, which I heard last night and wanted to share with you today! And I have to get to a 7:30 AM “retreat” soon, where there will be

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doctors, nurses, therapists, and other healthcare providers, working together to come up with ideas about how to make patient care better, in the future.

Is it time for me to do

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… here and now?????????????????

Instead, I shall heed my own advice and

  • take time,
  • walk through doors,
  • meet new people,
  •  see new things,
  • and share more

… by including this YouTube video of Mr. Louis Armstrong singing and playing “A Lot of Living to Do”:

And, speaking of meeting new people, I’ve never heard of Nick Ziobro before today, featured here performing at Birdland:

Okay!

This post, today, has

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  • talents,
  • sights,
  • sounds,
  • thoughts,
  • feelings,
  • moving,
  • nostalgia,
  • signs,
  • weather,
  • photos,
  • transitions, and
  • freakin other things.

I

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there’ll be

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comments, too.

Thanks to Sandy, to her daughters, to everybody who appeared in this post,  and to all those who have a lot of living to do, including (of course!) freakin you.

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 654: Observed

In yesterday morning’s blog post, I observed lots and lots of number 9’s.

As I walked to work, I observed another one:

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I also observed it was unseasonably warm for a mid-October day. When I got to work, I observed:

  • somebody working on interpersonal challenges:

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  • and a therapy group discussing the experience of self-consciousness — the awareness of being observed by others.  People in the group observed that self-consciousness did not have to be negative;  it might include helpful self-awareness.

I’ve observed that I’ve been feeling self-conscious and off-balance, lately. I’m observing, now,  that this might be connected to the following:

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  • In approximately 9 days, I will be observed by many new people, as I give a presentation about the therapy groups I facilitate at a hospital-based doctors’ practice.
  • There have been many times, in my own medical experiences, where I have been observed, very closely, by lots of people, in a way I could not control.

However, I CAN control what’s observed here, in the rest of this post.

Here’s what I observed, yesterday, through my ears (and my earphones), as I walked away from work, through a warm afternoon:

(“Afternoon” by the Pat Metheny Group, from the album Speaking of Now,” observed here on YouTube.)

Here’s what I observed, through my eyes (and my iPhone), as I made my way home:

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Is there anything you’ve observed you choose to express here?

Many thanks to Charles Gulotta, to those he loves, to the Pat Metheny Group, and to all who observe and are observed (including you, of course!).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 653: To the 9’s.

“To the nines” is an English idiom meaning “to perfection” or “to the highest degree”. In modern English usage, the phrase most commonly appears as “dressed to the nines” or “dressed up to the nines”.

Wikipedia entry for “To the nines”

Now, to the nine explanations for why I am writing a post about 9 today:

  • I like the idea of using the number “9” instead of the number “10” for perfection (as described in the saying “to the nines”). That gives the 99% of us imperfect humans some space to make mistakes and learn, doesn’t it?
  • I want to finish this post approximately 9 minutes earlier than usual, because I have to be at the hospital for work before 9 AM, because I’m on call for emergencies this morning from 9 to 10.
  • I’m hoping that writing this post reminds me about being on call for 9 o’clock, since 99% of the time I am NOT on call on Wednesdays (I’m usually on call on Monday afternoons).
  • At 10, I have 9 people signed up for a therapy group, and I rate that as a 9 out of a possible perfect 10.
  • On my walk home from work yesterday, I heard a song that has a “9” in the title. Would you like to take 9 seconds and/or 9 guesses for what song that might have been?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • After hitting the “return” key 9 times (and giving you enough friggin’ space, I hope), I shall now show you the song that was playing, yesterday, when I left the hospital after a 9-hour workday starting at 9 AM:

  •  99″ (found here on YouTube) is a tune by Toto which I’ve loved — and have loved to sing along to —  for between 9 and 99 years. My boyfriend Michael and I have had approximately 99 discussions about our disagreements about that band and that song. (Michael 99.9%* dislikes both of them.)
  • About 9 minutes after I heard “99” yesterday, I heard a magnificent piece by a famous composer.  Feel free to take 9 seconds and/or 9 guesses to come up with an answer for what that second 9-related musical piece was. ((Hint: this composer said a word that sounds like the topic of this post when setting limits with people and turning things down).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I leave, I need a photo with some 9’s in it. I took this, yesterday, as I was listening to Beethoven’s 9th:

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I wonder how many comments I’ll get on this post today?  (Does it matter to me how many comments I get?  What do you think?)

99,999 thanks to Aaron,Michael,  Ludwig Van, David Paitch, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Steve Porcaro, Bobby Kimball,  David Hungate** AND — of course! — to you, for bringing all your perfect and imperfect numbers here, today.


* I originally estimated the percentage of Michael’s dislike of “99” and Toto at 99%. Because truthfulness is more than 99% important to me, I checked out the 99% with him before publishing this post at 7:19, and Michael actually suggested I add the additional .9!  99 additional thanks to Michael for adding more 9’s to this post.

** The last 6  (an upside-down 9) in that list of 9 names are original members of the band Toto, which means, in Latin, “all-encompassing.”

*** You didn’t really expect me to have 9 footnotes here, did you? (Although I did go through the trouble to put in 9 links, people!)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 652: Magical Thinking

Magical thinking

… is the attribution of causal relationships between actions and events which cannot be justified by reason and observation.

Wikipedia

… is a fundamental dimension of a child’s thinking.

… involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections.

The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Here‘s what psychologytoday.com says about Magical Thinking:

Think you don’t believe in magic? Think again. Our brains are designed to pick up on patterns: Making connections helped our ancestors survive. You’re not crazy if you’re fond of jinxes, lucky charms, premonitions, wish fulfillment, or karma. You’re just human.

I’ve got some recent examples of magical thinking by

IMG_0870,  in The Years(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally:

  • I wrote, two days ago, that I was not afraid of Ebola. Poof! The same day, the media reported a possible case of Ebola in Boston (where I live and work), too close for comfort.
  • I bought a portable drive to  relieve storage problems (mostly for photos I’ve taken for this blog). Poof! Installing the drive took up too much space and screwed up several things on my laptop. The magical thinking here: Whenever I try to make things better, I actually make things worse. (By the way, that drive has gone Poof! back to the store.)
  • Because I wish to be Freshly Pressed here on WordPress, (Poof!) I won’t be.
  • Because I’ve been feeling “too good” and “too confident” lately about (1) work, (2) giving presentations, and (3) writing these posts, I’ve been wondering: WHAT AWFUL THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!
  • Because it’s getting darker and colder in these parts, I’ve been thinking: WHAT AWFUL THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!

Magical Thinking was a lively topic of discussion, over breakfast yesterday, for me and my friend Deb (who has made previous magical appearances in this blog, including here and here).

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In that second photo, Deb is telling me how she magically created a wine bottle in one of her glass-blowing classes!

When there were several problems with the service and the food at that restaurant yesterday, I had this passing thought, which I shared with Deb:

The server hates us!

Now, that is  definitely a great example of the cognitive distortions of Mind Reading and Personalization, but I’m not sure if it qualifies as magical thinking.

What are your magical thoughts on all this?

As you’re making your own magical connections, here are more photos I took, yesterday, with “magical thinking” dancing in my head:

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Do you have any magical thinking about what magical, musical number might appear — Poof! — in this post, right now ?

 

 

After several moments of magical thinking, I made up my mind to show you that YouTube video of The Lovin’ Spoonful performing “Do You Believe in Magic?” on Shindig! in 1965.

Did you have any wishes that a different song about magic might have appeared here, instead?

Before I — poof! — magically transport myself back to work, I wish to share a dream I had last night.

I dreamed that, in various ways, my health kept deteriorating, until I was bedridden. Thank goodness, I do NOT consider myself psychic.  When I have a dream, I don’t think, “That is now going to come true.”

I am thinking, though, why that dream might have magically appeared.  I’m reading this extremely compelling, well-written,  heart-rending, thoughtful, soulful, and otherwise admirable memoir by a fellow WordPress blogger, Charles Gulotta:

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I think The Long Hall is magic, in this sense of that word:

special power, influence, or skill

 

Many thanks to Charles, to Deb, to winged fairies and black cats, to The Lovin’ Spoonful, and — of course! — to all you magical thinkers out there.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, definition | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 651: What have we got?

What have we got?

The beginning of yet another post

made up as I go along.

Starting with me, I hope it will be,

A way we might all belong.

 

What have we got?

This song by Sting

I’m pleased to bring.

(Now hear him sing.)

 

What have we got?

Tasks galore,

Fears and more,

Sleep machine,

Things to clean,

Ebola threats,

Other frets,

Cold and heat,

What to eat?

Change is there,

What to wear?

Child who grows,

No one knows,

Hopes and dreams,

What it seems,

What it is,

Therapy biz,

Cope and heal,

Okay to feel,

Scarves and hats,

Humans and cats,

Yay! and meow,

Then and now,

Now is best,

For the rest.

 

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That’s the lot.

What have you got?

Thanks to Sting and everything that helped me say my piece today. And special thanks (it’s true) to you, for who you are and what you do.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 650: Today’s fears (and safety and dreams)

I fear I’m going to start this post by checking how many times I’ve used “fear” in previous blog titles.

Anybody brave enough to guess that number?

The number is  …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen.  (And those posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here).

Does anybody here fear numbers?

My 16-year-old son (who does not read this blog, these days) does NOT fear numbers, as illustrated by this story when he was three (almost four) years old (from NoteBookLand):

Aaron’s pre-school teacher, Alyssa, said that when the kids at school were asked what they were thankful for, some said, “my parents,” or “my toys,” or “my house,” or “my kitty.” Aaron said, “I’m thankful for numbers, because I can count with them.”

When I was looking for that early Aaron story, I found this much earlier one, which I do not fear to share with you, here:

Aaron and Dada were telling stories at bedtime. Aaron told a story where Aaron was having a dream about a dinosaur and his Dada told him that dinosaurs really weren’t there. Then Aaron told another story about a dinosaur who was having a dream about Aaron and who woke up scared from his dream, and the Daddy Dinosaur told the dinosaur to not be afraid, because no Aarons were really there.

 

As a psychotherapist, I often encourage people (especially those who have encountered frightening things in their lives) to think about how safe they are, in the moment. People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses —  often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling.

I fear it is sometimes difficult to take one’s own advice.  That is, I have been fearing some not-really-dangerous things lately, including:

  • running out of storage space,
  • machines breaking,
  • losing things,
  • interpersonal miscommunication, and
  • making mistakes.

Also, I fear, I have NOT been scared of some news-worthy dangers, including:

  • Ebola (and other diseases),
  • financial scams, and
  • murderous people.

I fear that sort of thing happens, when I stop listening to the news. (When I stop listening to the news, I definitely feel safer.)

 

If you fear generalizations about human beings, beware of the next sentence.

Being vigilant about danger can help us survive, so it makes sense for our minds to be fear-focused (although we might get confused about what we should be fearing, which can be scary).

 

This time of the year, there’s plenty to fear, all around:

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Do any of those things scare you?  Do any of them help you feel safer?

If any of them did scare you, what else might help you feel safer, in the moment?

For me, music always helps.

(“Not While I’m Around” from Stephen Sondheim‘s Sweeney Todd, sung by Barbra Streisand, found here on YouTube.)

Here’s a live version of that song, by Jamie Cullum:

 

Last night, I had a dream. Do you fear dreams? I do not fear other people’s dreams; indeed, I welcome them into individual and group therapy. However, I may fear my own dreams (which may be why I sometimes fear going to sleep).

My dream last night was not scary, although there was a moment in the dream where I was afraid of something.

I fear I am not being clear or detailed enough, right now, about my dream. Here it is:

I was outside, talking to people who were standing and walking around in some sort of public gathering place. At times, I was having conversations with individuals — some of whom seemed to be in charge of things. At other times, I would address many people at the same time, as though I was imparting some wisdom.  At one point, I had a revelation. I thought, “in order to help bring about helpful growth in people and in society, I just need to make very small changes, like these:  (1) changing one letter in certain words and (2) increasing numbers I use, just by making them one larger. That’s all I need to do and … I can do that!” As I had this epiphany, I could see things very clearly and I heard a person standing near me describe their own sense of deja vu. I thought, “This is all telling me that I am having a true and helpful thought.”  I felt happy, safe, and joyful.

Then, I had my moment of doubt and fear, as I thought: “If I tell people this, will they think I am too self-important? Will they think I am delusional?”

When I woke up after that dream, I felt good. I wasn’t sure I was going share that dream with anyone but, I suppose, I am now telling it — in a way — to the world.

As I was writing the dream down for this post, here were my associations to that dream:

  • I work with people individually and in groups. That was happening in the dream.
  • When I act like an expert, I fear that I will be seen as wrong and/or as seeing myself as too important. That was happening in the dream.
  • I do believe that creating small changes can lead to bigger and important change. That was happening in the dream.
  • In my work, I invite people to tell their stories differently, as a way of creating more self-esteem and moving towards life goals. That is my association to changing one letter in a word, in the dream.
  • In my blog, I increase the number in the title by one, every day.

Those are my associations with that dream. When I work in therapy with other people’s dreams, I ask this question:

If that were your dream, what might it mean?

I hope you feel safe enough here to respond to that question, or to share any dreams of your own.

Here is ONE MORE three-year-old Aaron story, about change:

Aaron, Mama, and Dada were driving by a restaurant which was all boarded up with wood. When they were talking about how the restaurant was being changed, Aaron said, “Yes, that restaurant is changing. It’s changing into a …. tree!”

Is there any fear about how I might end this post? The endings, here, are almost always gratitude.

Thanks to everybody who helped make this post possible and to you — of course! — for any fears, safety, or anything in-between, that you bring here today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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