Day 2305: Denial

No denial here that I’ve already written one post titled “Denial.”

No denial here that I’m surprised I haven’t written more posts about denial, because there’s so much denial around, including understandable human denial about the devastating effects of climate change. It’s been difficult for me to remain in denial since I followed that link in my previous sentence to read that interview with David Wallace-Wells, the author of The Uninhabitable Earth. 

There’s definitely denial in my photos from yesterday.

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Maybe I’m in denial, but I can’t find the Bee Gees “Nigt Fever” on YouTube, so here‘s “Stayin’ Alive” instead.

All your thoughts and emotions about denial are welcome, below.

Undeniable thanks to all who helped me create today’s denial post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 2304: What do we value?

Today’s blog post, inspired by this photo …

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… might seem like a logical extension of yesterday’s post, if logic is something you value.

I also value this opportunity to explore what we value and devalue in our culture, including older people.  During the  last few months, I have

  • heard  and read many jokes about older people, focusing on lack of ability, attractiveness, and other things we value,
  • defended the benefits of growing older to  groups of  younger people expressing nothing but fear about aging,
  • been told by an otherwise culturally sensitive younger person that “people of my generation” think and act a certain way, and
  • experienced my own internalized ageism, as I struggle against devaluing myself for looking and growing older.

What do I value about my photos from yesterday?

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I value our home, so I took this photo yesterday of a water stain on the ceiling.  We want to watch that stain, so our home doesn’t decrease in value as we and our home age.

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My friend Jenn values pugs and I value Jenn, so I take pug-related photos and send them to her.

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I value cats, so I took this photo at the supermarket yesterday evening.  I also noticed a Life Magazine about Dogs and remarked to my valued boyfriend Michael that the Dogs Life Magazine cover did not promise a feature on “DOGS vs. CATS.”   Michael — who values dogs  and cats and who doesn’t value conflict — had nothing to say about that.

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I took this photo because I value expressing joy,  and I assumed I would be able to use that image  very soon.  Sure enough, people I value shared some good news within the hour and I sent that image in an email.

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I value great people and I value puns, so I knew I could use this in today’s blog post, no matter what the topic.

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I value myself and other people, even when we’re procrastinating.  As is usual for me during this time of the year, I am procrastinating completing my taxes, because I value doing almost anything else more.

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I value all the meals Michael makes for me, even leftovers, because they are so delicious!

I value this video I found on Youtube by searching for “what do we value ageism”:

… and this one:

 

What else do I value?  Your comments and expressing gratitude, here and now.

 

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2303: You Matter to Me

You matter to me,  dear readers.

It also matters to me that six years ago, I wrote a blog post titled Day 133: Maybe anxiety means that something really matters to you. It matters to me to help explain anxiety to those who matter to me.

Michael, who matters to me, was matter-of-factly wearing this t-shirt yesterday:

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“You matter to me” is a slogan at the hospital-based Primary Care Practice where I work.  Patients matter to me — that’s why I’m so happy to be part of a Patient Experience Task Force there. One of the other members of that task force, who is a patient, came up with the slogan “You matter to me.”

Here and now, who and what matters to you?

I looked at my other photos from yesterday and realized that “You matter to me” applies to all of them.

 

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It matters to me that Harley —  our white and tiger kitty  who is very shy — didn’t run away while I was taking matters (and my iPhone camera)  into my own hands yesterday.

Someone I know once said she thought she mattered less to her family than the family’s cat.  Family matters.  We all matter, whether or not we know it.

It matters to me to repeat this photo from yesterday’s post:

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Everything you think and feel matters, so consider sharing your thoughts and feelings about all these matters in a comment, below.

The musical Waitress — which includes the song “You Matter to Me” — matters to me.

 

Because you matter to me, it matters to me to express my gratitude to you.

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

Day 2302: What was THAT all about?

What is today’s title all about?  It’s all about a conversation I had with Michael last night:

Michael: I’ve decided what I want on my tombstone.

Me: What?

Michael: “What was THAT all about?”

Me: That’s GREAT. I’ve decided what I want on my tombstone, too.

Michael: What?

Me: “I’m Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be.”

If you had been all about when Michael and I were having that conversation, what might you have said about all of THAT?

When I searched all my previous blog posts for “What was that all about?” the second thing that came up was Day 967: The meaning of life. What was THAT all about?

What were all my photos from yesterday all about?

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What is that last photo all about?  It’s all about where I park my car (near Fenway Park). It’s also all about how I’m going to spend this evening — at a game night with other group therapists.  I’m game and all about that, although I’m also all about spending the weekend with Michael, as much as I can.

I’m all about my son Aaron, so here’s his second “Misheard Lyrics” video from many years ago:

I’m all about your comments, so please leave one below.

I’m all about gratitude, so thanks to all who were all about helping me create today’s post and — of course! — to all of  you!!

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2301: Exhausted

Even though I’m up for anything these days, sometimes I get exhausted, especially on Thursdays, when I

  • work from 10 to 9,
  • facilitate two therapy groups,
  • orient new people for my groups,
  • see several people for individual therapy,
  • go to a meeting of social workers,
  • have about 20 minutes for lunch,
  • try to decide whether to look at or avoid the news,
  • practice my  latest song, and
  • practice self-care.

In one of those therapy groups, a person exhausted by a major and unexpected loss shared that she practices self care by taking breaks, even if it’s a break for a moment.  I wasn’t too exhausted to hear that she had learned that skill in my groups.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day  that I added a new emotion to the emotions chart on my door:

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Here and now, I’m exhausted by the possibility that somebody might tell me that “exhausted” is not really an emotion.

Here and now, I’m NOT too exhausted to share my other photos from yesterday.

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I hope you’re not too exhausted to share what exhausts you and what energizes you, in a comment below.

Here‘s the late and great Madeline Kahn singing about how exhausted she is in Mel Brooks‘s Blazing Saddles.

I’m never too exhausted to express my gratitude for all those who help me create these daily posts and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2300: Up for anything

Now that I’m up for the day, I can tell you that lately I’ve been up for anything, including

  • doing my taxes,
  • getting tasks off my plate more quickly,
  • writing lyrics and music,
  • figuring out harmonies for “Nobody’s Perfect”, which I co-wrote and will be co-singing with Social Work intern Nat Shirley,
  • performing music in front of people,
  • doing presentations at work,
  • facilitating five therapy groups a week,
  • serving as President of a group therapy professional organization,
  • reaching out to new people,
  • blogging daily,
  • saying “yes” to things I want to say “yes” to,
  • saying “no” to things I want to say “no” to,
  • quieting my harsh inner critic,
  • taking classes,
  • binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race,
  • dancing,
  • accepting and giving compliments,
  • asking for what I want, and
  • Michael’s home-cooked meals,

I’m up for sharing the lyrics of “Nobody’s Perfect” if you’re up for reading them.

Nobody’s Perfect

Nobody’s perfect, even us two.

We try to be perfect,

But that doesn’t do.

We both make mistakes.

In that, we’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

Nothing is more true.

Nobody’s perfect, even your friends.

If you’re expecting perfection

Those friendships may end.

Friends make mistakes.

In that they’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect.

Nothing is more true.

Perfectionism makes us imperfectly judgy,

Rigid, unhappy, refusing to budge-y,

It makes your thoughts and feelings uncomfortably sludgy,

With mean self-flagellation even if you’re slightly pudgy.

(if an instrumentalist joins us)

Nobody’s perfect.

Even us three.

Letting go of perfection

Helps us to be free.

Ann: She and he aren’t perfect,

In that, they’re like me.

Together: Nobody’s perfect,

You, them, or we.

Perfectionism makes us imperfectly judgy,

Rigid, unhappy, refusing to budge-y,

Expectations turn unrealistic and sludgy,

It’s a crime and a sin even if you’re just pudgy.

Nobody’s perfect.

Even a star.

Stars need to look perfect,

But they never are.

Stars make mistakes,

In that they’re like you.

Nobody’s perfect

And that’s perfectly true.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

Are you up for my photos from yesterday?

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I’m up for anything, including sharing this first attempt by Nat and me to create harmonies for “Nobody’s Perfect.”

 

 

I’m up for telling you that Nat wrote the melody for “Nobody’s Perfect.” I may not be up for singing that high when we perform it, so we may have to lower it.

Now I’m up for your comments, which you can make below.

I’m definitely up for thanking those who helped me create this up-for-anything post (especially Nat), and — of course! — YOU, for being up for anything in this blog.

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2299: Cognitive Distortions

Regular readers of this blog know I often write about the cognitive distortions described by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, including overgeneralization, mind reading, catastrophizing, personalization, comparisons, shoulds, and labeling/name-calling. Regular readers of this blog do NOT know that I soon will be performing my latest original song (titled “Nobody’s Perfect” and co-written with a Social Work intern at work named Nat) with other musicians, and we’re thinking of calling ourselves “The Cognitive Distortions.”

Last night, my boyfriend Michael and I were experiencing cognitive distortions when we were both making overgeneralizations about human beings.  Our cognitive distortions have increased since the last U.S. Presidential election as we both try to make sense of the human behavior described in the media, by cognitively debating and trying to understand what people are really like and why they say what they say and do what they do.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in this part of our discussion last night?

Michael:  I think people who say “I believe in him” or “I believe in that” know, on some level, that those things are not true.

Ann: Michael, this is the same disagreement we constantly have. I think that a lot of  people really believe what they say. How do you know what they really believe?  That’s overgeneralization and mind reading.

Michael:  How do YOU know what they really believe?

Me: I don’t really know, but I’ve encountered so many people in individual and group therapy who seem to really believe what they say they believe.

Michael: And I’ve encountered thousands of people through my work in the food industry.

Me: THOUSANDS?

Michael: Let me tell you a story that sums up my experience of people. There was this woman I used to work with. One day, somebody asked her if she believed in ghosts.  She said, “No.” And then she added, “But I’ve seen one.”

Me (laughing): I’m putting that in tomorrow’s blog.

Do you see any cognitive distortions in today’s photos?

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I just searched YouTube for “cognitive distortions” to see if any musical group already has that name.  This is what I found:

Feel free to express your cognitions and feelings about Cognitive Distortions, below.

Thanks and appreciation to all who helped me express the cognitive distortions in today’s post and — of course! — thanks and appreciation to YOU.

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

Day 2298: National Nutrition Month

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? I wouldn’t have, either, except I saw this yesterday:

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I agree that there are lots of ways to get nutrition, including games, snacks, and prizes.

I think it’s interesting that national nutrition month is the same month that, in this nation,

  • offers no holidays from work,
  • comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb,
  • has a mind-and-body disrupting time change, and
  • features green food and drink, which never looks particularly nutritious to me.

Can you find any nutrition in my other photos from yesterday?

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I look forward to finding and supplying nutrition for others during National Nutrition Month.

I find nutrition in Neil Young‘s music. A search for “Neil Young Nutrition” brings this up on YouTube …

… and this:

 

I look forward to the nutrition in your comments.

Nutritious thanks to all who helped me create this “National Nutrition Month” post and — of course! — to unrepeatable, magical YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2297: Unconditional _________

I have an unconditional question: How would you unconditionally fill in the blank in today’s title?

In these conditions, I like to provide definitions, so here‘s one of “unconditional.”

unconditional  adjective
un·​con·​di·​tion·​al | \ ˌən-kən-ˈdish-nəl , -ˈdi-shə-nᵊl\
Definition of unconditional
not conditional or limited : ABSOLUTE, UNQUALIFIED
unconditional surrender
unconditional love

Yesterday, at a Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy Practice Development event — “Stealth Self-Care During the Therapeutic Hour with Doug Baker, LICSW” — I heard the terms “unconditional acceptance” and “unconditional well-being.”  I unconditionally accepted and appreciated learning  techniques — drawn from mindfulness and yoga — for accepting and improving the well-being of myself and also the people I work with.

I had unconditional acceptance for a helpful acronym somebody shared there — SLOW:

Soften face

Lower shoulders

Open heart and breath

Wilt fingers

I felt unconditional well-being after spending two hours softening my face, lowering my shoulders, opening my heart and breath, and wilting my fingers  in mindfulness practice yesterday, despite my conditional attitude towards Daylight Savings time changes.

I’m hoping for unconditional acceptance of the only two photos I took yesterday.

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Michael prepared those burritos in challenging conditions last night, because he had forgotten to buy the  Mexican cheese and beans he wanted to use.   Instead, he substituted parmesan cheese and cannellini beans and conditionally named them “Fusion Burritos.” I unconditionally accepted them but he was more conditional about them.

I’m usually not in great condition the first Monday after a clock time change, but I an unconditional in my eagerness to get to work this morning.

There are many “Unconditional” songs on YouTube. Here‘s one of them, by Matt Maeson:

 

Unconditional thanks to all who helped me create this “unconditional” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2296: They say …

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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They say turning the clocks forward (as we did last night) is not good for our health, but it didn’t kill us. Would they say that made us stronger, along with every other thing we’ve done, not done, felt, thought, sensed, and encountered in our lives?   I say we all must be very strong.

They say it’s impossible to be sure of anything except death and taxes. I started working on my 2018 taxes yesterday, so I’m  a little closer to both, here and now.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If what they say is true, get ready for at least fourteen thousand words.

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They say that falling in love is wonderful.

Kent Hewitt says “They Say It’s Wonderful” by Irving Berlin is perfect in every way.

They say this and they say that.  What do you say?

They say always say please and thank you, so please accept my thanks to all the theys who helped me create this “They say …” post and, of course, to YOU.

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

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