Monthly Archives: May 2013

Day 151: Fringe

This is the definition that just came up for “fringe”:

Fringe (frinj)

Noun
An ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material.

Adjective
Not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme: “fringe theater”.

I am planning a trip overseas this summer, with my son.  It’s his first trip out of the country, and we’re planning on visiting England and Scotland.

I’ve started discussing the details of the trip with my wonderful niece, Laura (who is also a terrific travel agent).  She’s been asking me great questions about what kind of trip we would like to take.

Based on past experience, I would love a trip that had some structure, but also allowed room for improvisation.

And I was thinking about trips I’ve taken in the past with my friend Jeanette.

Jeanette and I took several trips together, in the 80s and 90s, and our blueprint for these adventures was establish a beginnning and ending point, and to make up the rest as we went along.

One of our trips, many years ago, started in Edinburgh, which was so beautiful.

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We also had a great time attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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(I love Google Images, I have to say.)

This morning, when I was writing  my niece Laura about the priorities for the upcoming trip with my son  (including theater, museums, music, architecture, history and literature, food, fun, interacting with people who live there, walking around, etc.), I included the Fringe Festival as an example of something I would love to do.

Later,  I googled the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  And this is what I found out:

  1. The official name is the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (check out that non-mainstream word order).
  2. The festival, this year,  is happening when we’re traveling.
  3. Yippeee!!

So that is really the major point of today’s blog post.

Sure, there’s more that I could write about the word “fringe,” including:

  • I’ve always liked the unconventional, over the mainstream.
  • When I’ve felt bad about myself, I’ve used the word “weird” as a self-critical label.
  • For a long, long time, I’ve loved “Beyond the Fringe” (and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore).

But I don’t want this post to get too peripheral.

Thanks for reading today, everybody!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 150: The A-word

This post is dedicated to my friends Rob and Gene.

The very first week of this blog, I wrote about a word that I hesitated naming.   That was the P-word, which was Procrastination.    I hesitated to speak its name, because that can be a loaded, self-critical and unhelpful word for a human process I see everywhere — in myself and in others, too.

Yesterday, I wrote about another word, that I felt the urge to not-name, also.  That was the D-word.  And THAT was a word that a lot of people try to avoid.

Death. (Eeeek!)

Phew.  So much for the D-word, in THIS post.  (I’m definitely on board with Death Avoidance today, people.) (Although, earlier today I was worrying about some deadlines.  And take a look at THAT word. Dead-lines!  Geesh! Is that word supposed to motivate us or paralyze us with fear?!)

Anyway, moving on, to today’s  Word-That-Might-Not-Be-Named.

I would like to present, ladies and gentlemen, the A-word.

Anger.

Not quite as scary as death.  But still difficult for me (and a lot of other people, I believe) to talk about.  And to deal with.

This is what I’m noticing about anger, these days:

  •  Most people (including me) don’t have good role models for How To Experience and Express Anger Effectively.
  • Anger is an emotion that a lot of people disown and dislike in themselves and in others.
  • Anger is just another human emotion, like sadness, joy, and fear.  Everybody reading this blog has all those emotions. (If Mr. Spock is reading this blog, he knows that he has them, too.)
  • Anger is the human reaction to injustice and to fundamental needs not being met.
  • Anger has a lot of energy, to help us change that which is unjust and not serving us well.
  • Anger, the way it is expressed out in the world,  is tied up with hatred and violence (which can be very confusing and frightening).

I’m not sure what the “solution” is …. to the “problem” of anger in the world (and in ourselves).

My belief is that the first step is accepting anger as human — as something useful and maybe even beautiful. Then, maybe we can  do better at figuring out more effective ways to express and use that Energy of Anger.

I think this is a tough topic, people. I’m not surprised that I procrastinated writing about this, until Day 150.  (Even death was easier to broach, apparently!)

As always, I am curious and eager to hear your thoughts about this.  And thanks so much, for reading today!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 149: To Tweet or Not to Tweet (is that the question?)

(This post is dedicated to my good friend, Newell.)

Like most people my age (I assume), I resist some new things.

Like most people (I assume), I resist some new things.

Resistance to new things is pretty common, isn’t it? I mean, it would make sense, that we would resist something unknown.

Change engenders both hope and fear. How could it not?

I’m not sure whether I’m any more resistant to new things now, than I was when I was younger.

I can’t remember!

That’s not exactly correct. I can remember a lot of things. I’m just not sure how to interpret all that data, regarding this particular question: Am I more resistant to change — now that I’m older — than I was before?

My guess, right now, is that I’m more resistant to change if I have some fears about the changes.

And the more secure I am in my competence and skills in adapting to change, the less fear I will have, and the less I will resist a change.

And, actually, dear reader, I’ve been thinking lately that the trend, for me, is to become MORE secure as I get older.

I confess: I like getting older. Whenever somebody asks me, what age would you like to be? I always answer, “This one.” I never name an earlier one.

This makes me feel weird, to tell you the truth. Because I hear so much noise, out there, regarding fear of aging. And I understand it. I do! Because the more we age, the closer to (the big D) we are.

(I didn’t want to freak people out, by using the D-word.)

But, for some reason, aging doesn’t make me feel closer to death, for the most part. (Ooops! I used the d-word.)

Actually, I know the reason. It’s because I was born with a heart “defect”, and I got that message loud and clear from people around me: You probably won’t live very long.

And about two years ago (when I was 58 years old), a doctor finally said to me, “You know what, Ann? I think you’re going to live as long as anybody else.”

So this unusual life of mine has given me several gifts (I assume):

  • I am often in the moment.
  • I am grateful for being alive (almost always, although I lose track of that sometimes)).
  • I enjoy aging.

Just so you don’t think my mind is filled with rainbows and unicorns, I will say this: I’m still afraid of death (although I’m working on that). And there are down sides to being as much in the moment as I am. (I have trouble planning ahead, for one.)

However, I do see My Unusual Life as bringing many more gifts than drawbacks.

Now, some of you, at this point, may be thinking:

What the hell is the deal with the title of this post? What does THIS have to do with Tweeting?

Good questions, astute readers!

Well, my intent when I started writing this was to discuss how I have resisted getting on Twitter, and to wonder whether this reflected (1) resistance to change, in general and (2) resistance to a (relatively) new-fangled technology, from me, an older person.

But, as Dr. Seuss said ….

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Thanks for reading, everybody.

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

Day 148: Dreams I Have Known

I had a dream last night where I didn’t like what was happening and I wanted to wake myself up.

My father used to have these kinds of dreams. I remember hearing him make these odd, high-pitched noises in his sleep, and my mother helping him to wake up.

This dream occurred for me, last night, soon after I fell asleep. (The typical time for these dreams, for my father and for me.)

The dream wasn’t particularly scary. It just involved my son coming upstairs.  But I had a “bad feeling” in the dream.  And I knew it was a dream. And I wanted to stop the dream, and wake up.

As always, I struggled to transition out of sleeping into waking. I tried to assist that process by vocalizing — making noises.  As I did, I could hear the echo of my father’s sounds.

Then, I went downstairs, to check on my son. I just wanted to make sure he was okay.  He was.

When I awoke this morning and was trying to decide what to blog about today, I was thinking about that experience, and remembering that I’ve made a Note to Self about a future blog topic …..

Recurring Dreams.

I think it’s interesting what dreams recur for people. And I’ll tell you about a recurring dream that I used to have, a lot.

The dream varied, each time, but always involved these components: (1) at some point, I would need to reach somebody by calling them on the telephone and  (2) I would have lots of trouble doing that. Something would always get in the way of my using the phone to reach them. Often, I wouldn’t be able to see the parts of the phone I needed to, in order to make the call.

Each time I had this dream (which was often in the midst of some kind of adventure-type plot), the results were always the same. I would never get through, with whatever message I had to deliver.

Arrghh!

I don’t have that dream any more. I haven’t for many years.  But I remember what those dreams felt like, vividly.

Frustrating.  Scary.  Draining.  Panicky. Discouraging.

Here’s how I’m “interpreting” that old dream, right now:

Communication is very important to me.  If I don’t connect with people, I feel bad. The consequences of NOT connecting can be dire. Isolation is scary.  Seeing clearly is important, in order to connect.  And having an urgent message, undelivered, is terrible.

I actually like my old, recurring dream. I like what it says about my priorities.

And I especially like that I’m not having that dream, any more.

I’m wondering: What kinds of recurring dreams have you had?  What do you think they might mean?

Thanks to all.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 147: Labeling

The Cognitive Distortion Du Jour, dear readers, for this blog post is …..


Labeling.

Here’s the definition of Labeling (from the list of distortions I’ve posted, here).

13. Labeling or Name-calling.

We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”?

This is a misery-causing distortion that I see all the time– in the people I treat (as a therapist), in the people I love, and (of course) in myself.

Here’s a way to challenge labeling (from this list of “antidotes”):

Examine the Evidence. Instead of assuming your negative thought is true, look at the evidence. For example, if you think “I never do anything right,” list some things you do well.

Let’s see if I can use this, to challenge a label I’ve applied to myself.

Here are labels I use — names I call myself — when I make a mistake.

Stupid. Idiot.

Let me examine the evidence.

I do have some evidence to challenge that, for sure. Actually, when I said to my bf a couple of weeks ago, “You know … maybe I am a smart person,” he replied, “Ann, if you, of all people, aren’t sure about that, I don’t know what else to say to you.”

He was referring to some pretty convincing data: That is, I did well in school. And I went to a really prestigious college.

And I’ve been trying to gather more evidence to challenge those judgmental, critical labels. For example, people sometimes use the word “smart” and “wise” when they describe me. A couple of weeks ago, I found out that a person I think is really smart calls me “brilliant” when talking about me. (This amazed me, but I took it in.)

I’m examining the evidence and it looks good.

You know what, though? All that evidence, no matter how good, doesn’t matter when I’m feeling depressed or, sometimes, just when I make a mistake. Then, the evidence … Poof! …  disappears.

I’m “brilliant” enough, during those times, to make the case that I’m stupid, an idiot, or simply not smart enough, with “reasoning” like this:

I used to be smart when I was a younger, but I’m not smart any more.

I’m a “book” kind of smart. That doesn’t help me survive in this world.

I got into that prestigious college mostly because the admissions people knew about my heart condition and hospitalizations, and because my cardiologist’s family had some “pull.”

If I was smart, I would feel smart!

How can I call myself smart when I see people all around me who are smarter?

People seem to talk to me like I’m stupid, a lot of the time.

Look at all the friggin’ mistakes I make, every day!

Arrrghhh!

Well, I’m working on letting go of those kinds of thoughts, people.

Here are more “antidotes” that help with that, from my handy-dandy list:

List the positives. To deal with the tendency to focus on the negative, make lists of good things that are happening, good things about yourself, and things that you are accomplishing (even little things). Focus on what you ARE doing, rather than on what you’re NOT doing.

Challenge Labels. If you label yourself negatively, such as “a fool” or “a loser,” remind yourself that such absolute terms are subjective and meaningless, and that human beings are too complex to be reduced that simplistically. Also, consider the possibility that somebody else may have given you that idea about yourself, and that they were wrong.

Reality testing. Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and concerns are realistic or true. This is a particularly effective response to the distortion of mind-reading.

Okay, people, thanks for staying with me, so far. At this point, I’m going to take a break for a walk (it’s a beautiful day — Memorial Day, here in the Northeast U.S.).

Intermission (for a walk on a beautiful day).

I’m baaaaack! And I want to finish this post up pretty quickly, so I can visit for a little while with my downstairs neighbor, Karen. (I’m very lucky she lives here.)

I thought about this post, on my walk. And I noticed that I was …. challenging labels.

For example, in the past, if I had to label what kind of photographer I am, I would probably have said, “an okay one.” I probably wouldn’t have used the word “good.” Why not? Usually, I’m very aware of all the reasons why I’m not good photographer (e.g., I often get my thumb in the picture, I’ve never been trained, I was “terrible” at art classes in school, and, in general, my natural talents seem to land more in the area of sound than sight).

However, last week, my friend Krystal posted this comment on Facebook, in response to one of my Provincetown photos.

“Ann! You are a great photographer!”

What? “GREAT ….. photographer?”

Even though that label was new and unexpected, I let that new evidence in. That is, somebody I respect thinks I’m a great photographer! Yippeee!

And that helped me feel even happier today as I took these photos, during my walk.

Challenging Labels, on a Memorial Day Walk

A short photo essay, by Ann

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That’s a baby rabbit, people … in the morning! I almost walked by it. It was very small and very still.

I was especially delighted and surprised, since we usually see rabbits at dusk. That’s because rabbits (and cats) are crepuscular — a “label” I first heard recently, thanks to my bf, which means “active at dusk and dawn.”

And I guess I must be smart, because I remembered the frggin’ word today, and how to spell it.

.

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I saw this tree when the song “Lush Life” was playing on my iPhone. I couldn’t capture how beautiful it was, but I tried, a couple of times.

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.

By the way, Krystal posted something else on Facebook, after she read my Provincetown blog post:

“Ann! You’re a great photojournalist!”

That was echoing in my head today, too, which helped me take these photos.

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I liked the balance of beauty, there. And here ….

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.

Okay. One last thing I noticed, on my walk, which helped me challenge another, old thought:

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“Purple and red do NOT look good together.”

That’s obviously not true.

And look what I’m wearing, right now:

photo (54)

Purple and red look good together, even on me! (See here for more about that t-shirt.)

Thanks to my neighbor, Karen, for taking that last picture. I needed a little help from my friends, today, to do this blog post. Special thanks to Krystal.

Thanks to you, too, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 146: To boldly go where no Ann has gone before

My son, my bf, and I saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” last night. (I originally thought there MUST be a punctuation mark in that title — perhaps a “:” or a “,” or even a “.” But no. Nada.)

My son had one major question after the movie: “Why was it called ‘Into Darkness?'”

I said, “Maybe because of the way the movie was lit?”  Now that might sound like I was being all snark-y and Film School-y (and I did go to Film School, when I was in my 30’s), but I thought the movie was fine.

Regular readers of my blog may know that I love Star Trek, The Original Series (or TOS,  an acronym which is NOT immediately obvious to me, whenever it pops up). Even if readers don’t know of my feelings about TOS (The Original Series, for those of you who couldn’t hold on to that non-intuitive acronym even for a moment, like me), they may remember that I have written several posts referencing that TV show (here, here, and here).

I’ve used Star Trek (I’m dumping the whole TOS acronym for the rest of this post, people) in this blog, mostly to illustrate an experience I’ve been having, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally:

Accelerated Learning,

as illustrated by this Star Trek “villain” (played by Gary Lockwood):

gary-lockwood (1)

who became too smart and powerful, too fast, (with too shiny eyeballs), for his own good.

I just re-read that first post about Accelerated Learning, and you know what?  There’s a lot of Good Stuff in that post, to the extent that I thought, “I wonder if I have anything else to teach them?” (or more to the point, anything else to blog about, for the rest of the year.)

(I’m actually not worried about that, in the moment, although I AM feeling a wee bit … conceited, right now, having essentially “bragged” about how helpful I think that post might be, as well as having put myself in the role of “teacher.”)  (Okay, I’m letting go of any guilt about THAT, right now.)

Better.

Another thing I’ve been experiencing, this year, is a LOT of Synchronicity.

Here’s a definition of synchronicity:

syn·chro·nic·i·ty  (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n. pl. syn·chro·nic·i·ties
1. the quality or fact of being synchronous.
2. the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung.

Note the reference to Carl Jung, who is one of my Therapy Heroes.  (Another Therapy Hero was the gentle and wonderful Michael White, from Narrative Therapy.)

(Note also that the first definition, above, is essentially useless, as it refers to another form of the same word.)

Something else to note: another word for the concept of synchronicity is “coincidence.”

Here’s something I’ve noticed. I get really excited about coincidences, and not everybody does. 

Sometimes I think: there are two kinds of people in this world. People who get excited about coincidences and people who don’t.

Sometime I think:  there are two kinds of people in this world. People who think there are two kinds of people in this world and people who don’t.

So where was I, before all those digressions in parentheses AND italics?

Oh, yes.  Star Trek.  And Synchronicity.

So, right around the time that I was blogging so much about the shiny-eyeballed, scarily-smart Gary Lockwood character from Star Trek, rumors were swirling around the internet about the new Star Trek Movie, to be released in May.

And one of the rumors I read was this:

The villain in the new Star Trek Movie will be some version of the Gary Lockwood character in The Original Series.

I thought, “Wow!  How cool is that?  I’ll have to tell my dear readers about THAT little piece of synchronicity!”  Then, that turned out to be an old, outdated rumor.  Oh, well.

But, here was a “true rumor”:  the villain was going to be played by THIS guy:

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Benedict Cumberbatch.  Who is known, these days, for playing somebody else: another hero, who is important to me.

Sherlock Holmes.

I remember, when I was about 13 years old, spending one whole summer reading this book:

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I spent an entire summer reading this book, not because I was a slow reader (I wasn’t), but because there was SO MUCH information in this book.  Yes, people, there’s a reason why the word “ANNOTATED” is the biggest word in that title.  OMG.

But I loved reading  every word, every minute detail, as I made my way through these wonderful stories, starring the World’s Greatest Detective.

Why is Sherlock Holmes one of my heroes?

  • He is really smart.
  • He pays attention, all the time.
  • He doesn’t care what other people think about him.
  • He takes in all the details of all his senses, to solve problems.

It’s occurring to me, for the first time, that Sherlock Holmes is somebody who is REALLY mindful, in each moment.

Now I understand, in a new way, why he’s one of my heroes.

Thanks for reading, everybody!  (And I’m wondering about YOUR thoughts — regarding heroes, villains, synchronicity, Star Trek,  punctuation, or anything else you got out of this post.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 145: Positioning and Payments

Yesterday, I wrote about my attempts to remember an important Message to Self, whenever I’m feeling down, depressed, or discouraged, which involved storing this message in a special place.

Today, I moved the Box With The Message, so it can be closer at hand.

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I don’t want to lose track of it.

I needed to pay some bills today.  I just finished scheduling some on-line payments.

One of these bills — my electric bill — is going to be late, as usual.  Arrghh! I know why this is.  It’s because my way of remembering to pay bills is outmoded.

This is the out-dated process of bill-paying I use:

  1. I have it in my head that I should pay all my bills on the 23rd of each month. 
  2. Starting around the 18th, I start to ask myself whether it’s time to pay my bills.
  3. I don’t actually pay my bills, I just ask myself that question every day.
  4. On the 23rd, I remember that this technique is based on a time in my life that — if I mailed all my bills on the 23rd — they would all get paid in time.
  5. I delay doing anything about this for a day or two, because I now pay most bills on-line, and the Big Bills are all due by the 1st.
  6. Around the 25th of the month, I schedule the on-line bill payments.
  7. I feel guilty and stoopid, because — as always — I am late with the electric bill, which is actually due in the middle of the month.

Well!  That was cathartic (if embarrassing) — to actually write down my Out-Moded and Not Particularly Effective Process for Paying My Bills.

I think I want to make a change in my life, people.

This is what I am proposing:  when a bill comes in the mail,  I will immediately rip open the bill and schedule the payment on-line.

Wow!  That would sure save me a lot of wasted steps, time, and anxious energy.

And now that I’ve committed to doing that, here, I can feel a change coming on.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading (and witnessing my process of change).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 144: “Emergency” messages

I’ve often blogged here about cognitive distortions,including mind-reading, fortune-telling, comparisons, and negative filter. (Here’s a list of all thirteen cognitive distortions.)

I’ve also been working on a list of antidotes or remedies, to help break the habit of cognitive distortions.

Here’s the antidote I wanted to focus on, today:

The “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” Technique. Prepare for the possibility that when you are feeling at your worst, coping strategies and solutions might be difficult to remember. Write down a couple of things that might be helpful to remember when you are feeling bad, and put that in a special place. Also, consider telling somebody else about these “emergency messages,” so they can remind you.

I’ve got my own message I would like to remember, in case of emergency. When I’m feeling down, depressed, hopeless, discouraged, self-critical, or self doubting, I wish I could remember this:  I will come through the bad time, with gifts I can use.

However, I can never remember that message, when I’m down. Never!  It’s like a spell is cast, that affects my memory.  When I’m feeling hopeless or powerless — because of disappointment or shame — my  belief is some form of this:

I suck and/or life sucks.

That’s what cognitive distortions do, in a nutshell. They present Sucky-ness of Self and Existence,  as The Truth.

But, it’s not The Truth. It’s just a belief, a thought, a temporary state of mind.

Each time, though, when I descend into a State of Ultimate Sucky-ness,  I simply cannot remember anything else. My Emergency Message is beyond me.

So, in order to try my “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” antidote, I’ve been scoping out a special place to place my helpful Message to Self.

About a month ago, I got this box, with a hidden compartment. I thought I’d place my message there.

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However, since I so easily lose sight of the message, I decided I needed a receptacle that was a lot less subtle.

So on my vacation, I bought this:

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That’s a lot harder to miss.

I’ve printed out this version of The Message:

When you are feeling, hopeless, powerless, selfish, foolish, disappointed or otherwise bad about yourself and your situation, remember this:

You will come out of this. And you will have ideas about ways to move forward.

I’ve placed that message in the box:

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Now my box, with message inside, is sitting on the mantle:

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I hope I remember it’s there, the next time I need it.

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading, everybody. (And feel free to post what “emergency message” you might leave for yourself.)

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

Day 143: Disorientation and learning

First things first.  I am writing this post this morning having gotten LOTS of sleep.

As regular readers of my blog may know, my getting lots of sleep is  …. unusual.  (See yesterday’s post, for example.)

Anything unusual can be disorienting, even if it’s a good thing. Don’t you agree?

For example, this is what happened yesterday, regarding my sleep:

While I don’t like to nap (and usually avoid naps), I fell asleep at about 4 PM yesterday after I got home from work. (I leave work early, on Wednesdays.)

Then something really weird happened.

I woke up, after the nap, at 5:45 …. and I was convinced that it was 5:45 IN THE MORNING.

Why did I think it was 5:45 AM?  Many reasons: I often wake up at that time, in the morning.  The light felt similar to me. It was quiet in the house.

I thought that my son was asleep and my bf was downstairs, awake. (My bf has weird sleeping hours. He was an overnight cook, for many years.)

I went downstairs, to blog.  My bf came into the kitchen to talk to me.  So far … this all seemed like 5:45 AM.

Then he said something that told me it was 5:45 PM.

5:45 AT NIGHT?!?!?

I was very disoriented.

And it took me a while to adjust to that reality.  I felt physically LOUSY.   I also felt ….

Crab

crab-by.

(I’ll take any excuse to insert a photo of a beautiful animal.)

But this is what I learned from this disorienting experience:

  • I  need to continue to figure out ways to get more and better sleep. (I’m working on it, people!)
  • I must be loving this blog, because I was HAPPY that it was 5:45 AM and it was time to prepare for it.
  • I must be loving  my job,    because (etc. etc. etc.)

As the cliche goes …

It’s all good.

Thanks so much for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Day 142: The Heart is a Lonely Blogger (at 2 AM)

My writing a blog post in the middle of the night is not exactly novel (see here for my most recent early-morning musings).

Tonight, however, there are some new circumstances contributing to my being awake at 2 AM, including the very loud construction going on nightly in my town. Indeed, I just now recorded, on my iPhone, shocking evidence of the volume of these nocturnal improvements, but I can’t figure out how to drop that file into this post.

To help you join with me in this experience, here’s a canned version of construction noises, which I’ve used in a previous post:

That’s uncannily close to what I’m hearing, outside my window, right now.

As is my wont with these mid-night posts, I like to keep them short, because I have faith, or hope, that I might fall back asleep this night.

And actually, that reminds me of a subtitle I was considering for this post:  “Faith and Doubt”.

Because — in these wee hours of the morning, as I was having trouble sleeping — that’s where my thoughts have been going.  To faith and doubts about these blog posts: specifically, about how many people are reading.

I know I have written about these kinds of thoughts — How Many People Are Reading? — before (see here).

And while part of me believes that Readership Really Shouldn’t Matter …. nevertheless, these are the thoughts, that are occurring to me, on this topic, at 2:30 AM on Day 142.

On the one hand, I believe that plenty of people are reading.  I know that many people  — those I’ve met and those I haven’t — have subscribed to this blog.  And several people have told me they read this blog and enjoy it — which always warms my heart.  All this  — plus my experience, in groups, that, for every person who voices something, there are other, silent people who feel the same way —  gives me the faith that this blog is being seen and heard enough.

Also, I especially feel good when I put things out in the world just for the sake of expression, letting go completely of the result.

These kind of thoughts tell me that this blog is exactly where it is supposed to be — in terms of readership and everything else.

This reminds me of a sign we had in the large group room at the psychiatric day treatment program where I used to work:

You Are Exactly Where You are Supposed To Be.

A lot of people who saw that sign said they found  it very helpful, if difficult to believe at times.

I have found that sign — and concept — very helpful, too.

So helpful that I almost feel ready to end this post, just letting that concept in, again, tonight:

This blog is exactly where it is supposed to be.

Ahhhh.  That helps. And I do believe it.

My original plans for this Sleepless in Massachusetts post had included the other side of Faith: Doubt.  These doubts would have included the surprisingly low  numbers I see here on WordPress about daily readership.  I am puzzled by these numbers at times, because they don’t match other data, here at WordPress and elsewhere (data including readership maps, numbers of followers, etc.).

That Doubt-tinged Data — of Lower Than Expected Readership — usually doesn’t worry me. But — like everything else I see and perceive — those numbers stay in my mind, ready to surface (especially when I can’t sleep).

But for now, I am content to let go of those doubts and concerns.  I believe, right now, that

I (and everything I create, including this blog) is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

As a result — Poof!  All expectations, “shoulds,” and investments in outcomes — regarding this blog —  fade away.

Even while those construction noises don’t.

I am supremely grateful, in this moment, for your readership.  Goodnight and zzzzzzzzzzzz (snoring noises, for those of you who wonder).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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