Monthly Archives: October 2013

Day 294: Born Sensitive

When I was in my 20’s, a very wise woman said to me,

Ann, some people are just born sensitive.

While some may be

eng_born_free1,

Born Again,

Born_yesterday,

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and/or

btw1year1,

I announce, loud and proud, today, that I was

BORN  SENSITIVE.

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While those of us who are born THAT way, may sometimes think that we are

TOO  SENSITIVE,

… is that a helpful thought, really?

Because when I have worries about anybody — human or otherwise —  being

TOO SENSITIVE

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… usually, there is nothing to fear.

Thanks to my bf, Michael;* our two cats, Oscar (old/front) and Harley (new/back); John Barry;** sodahead.com;*** Bruce, Garson Kanin;**** Lady Gaga;  all creatures born  free, again, yesterday, to run, this way, or otherwise; and to you, especially, for reading today.

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* Who “despises” puns and suggested I include this, today:

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** The composer of “Born Free” (and many other wonderful things).

*** For the “Born Again” image (I think).

**** The writer of “Born Yesterday” (and many other wonderful things).

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

Day 293: Repetitiveness, again

Here are some things I’m repeating, which are on my mind, today:

  1. This topic, from yesterday.
  2. My sister and I get to go to a Red Sox World Series game, for the second time!red-sox-2007-world-series-championsChicago White Sox v Boston Red Sox
  3. I’m wondering  about judgmental thoughts people might have about my writing, right now.
  4. I’m reminding myself that  (a) I don’t know what anybody else is thinking and (b) who cares what other people are friggin’ thinking, anyway?
  5. There are lots of things I want to include in this blog post today, including images of  places I re-visited yesterday:IMG_1930IMG_1936IMG_1946IMG_1950IMG_1955IMG_1957
  6. When I tell somebody something, I like to follow through. For example, a wonderful blogger, The Laughing Housewife, commented about yesterday’s post,  “I can read the same book over and over; but it is its familiarity that makes it so special.” I replied, “I read some books over and over again, too. I think I’ll add that to the post I’m concocting in my mind right now.” So, here are some books I’ve read, many times, that have helped me:                                                                                                                                                                                                      brown  9780064400558 91HJgLKI1GL._SL1500_helpcatch-22_coverpride-and-prejudice (1)                             Awakening-the-Heroes-Within-9780062506788
  7. Making lists of things that seem important.
  8. Noticing something different, as I’m composing this post, which is worrying me.
  9. Fearing some worst-case scenarios (e.g.,  I will lost this post before I can publish it; I will not give people credit who deserve it; links I’ve included won’t work or will be inappropriate).
  10. Accepting that I fear the worst, sometimes, and that I can let go of that, too.

Things on that List of 10, which I’m doing differently, this time around:

All of the above.

That concludes today’s post, everybody.

Thanks to David Ortiz,  Koji Uehara, everyone else involved in the creation of this post, and to you, too, for visiting today.

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

Day 292: A good word for repetitiveness

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a fear of repeating myself.

Why? I’m wondering this morning.

What’s so bad about repeating things?

Especially since I talk to people, repetitively — in this blog and elsewhere — about how we humans tend to repeat and relearn important lessons, as we grow. (See my first post about that,  here.)

Here’s an example of “good” repetitiveness:

When I really love a song, I want to play it, over and over again.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have the control to make that happen.  When  I loved a song,  I would listen to the radio for days, wishing that it would play.

Yearning for that song. Waiting to hear it.

I first remember doing that, when I was very young, with this song:

I remember doing that, when I was about 13 years old, with this song:

Nowadays,  if I want to listen to a song over and over again, I can!  And yesterday, I did just that, with this tune:

At this point in this post, I wanted to tell you about another instance of helpful repetitiveness, but here’s what I’m thinking:

Geesh!  “Repetitiveness” is such a difficult word to say and type.  What’s another good word for that concept?

So, I just I looked for another word, and here’s something interesting, people! Most of the synonyms for “repetitiveness” are negative:

Here’s the list I found:

(Thanks to thesaurus.com.)

However, (as usual) when I look at that list again, I see things differently.

Some of those words probably are negative to everybody (“wearisomeness,” “tediousness”).

Some of those words seem negative to me (“routine,” “”unchangeableness”), but not to others, I’m sure.

And some of those words are very positive, to me, right now (“oneness”).

However, I haven’t found a word I like, to replace “repetitiveness.”  I guess that’s a good enough word, today, for this blog post.

So where was I?

Oh, yes. I wanted to include another example of repetitiveness in this post, before I end it.

But first let me say this:  Repetitiveness, like everything else, is in the eye of the beholder.

Okay!

This is a photo of the first cat I got, when I was 10 years old:

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Here’s what’s written on the back of that photo:

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Here’s a photo of our new cat, Harley:

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That concludes our blog post for today, everybody.

Thanks to Frank Sinatra, Norma Tanega, Donald Fagen, tough cats of all kinds,  repeaters everywhere, and to you, especially, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 291: Introducing a New Member/Cat to a Group/Household

This is one of those posts, dear readers, where I try to be clever, with a topic that applies to more than one situation.

As a group therapist, I have some wisdom about effective ways to introduce new members into established groups. As a cat owner, I am now dealing with the experience of introducing a new cat into a household that includes one other cat.

So let’s see how I do, today, being clever (I wish) and helpful (I hope).

Here we go ….

Ann’s Helpful Tips for

Introducing a New Cat/Group Member

into an Established Household/Group

Phew!  Even the title was exhausting. Nevertheless, let’s continue ….

Tip #1.  Be respectful of the differences in each member’s/cat’s experience of the situation.

A group member/cat who is familiar with the group/household is going to be more comfortable. A new member/cat is going to be less comfortable and (we might assume) more anxious in the group/household.

Therefore, it is helpful to skillfully leave room for each member/cat  — new and  old —  to be where he/she/it needs to be.

I don’t know, readers.  This post might be too ambitious/complicated.  What do you think?

Maybe I should quit while I’m ahead.

The best I can do, right now,  is to provide an image that, somehow, helpfully illustrates something in this blog post.

I hope this works (fingers crossed):

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.

Image

Thanks to new (and established) cats and group members, everywhere. And special thanks to you, for visiting today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 290: The Healing Power of Art

Here are some random thoughts — and images — this morning,  about “The Healing Power of Art.”

This is  a piece of art, by Elisa Tenenbaum,  that hangs in my living room (and which appeared in this blog on Day 174: Surprised by Joy).

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I’ve spent a lot of wonderful moments, gazing at that.

Yesterday, when I (finally!) spoke to somebody about my will, that expert suggested that I choose a few special items to leave to specific people.  I immediately thought of Elisa Tenenbaum’s good work.

Also, yesterday, I spoke with another expert, who  specializes in EMDR (“Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy ( as well  as other healing work for people with traumatic memories).

That expert often suggests creating a “container” for difficult-to-manage feelings that might come up during that kind of work.

I’ve written about creating “containers,” for various uses, in this blog before. (For a summary of all of these, see Day 245: Lucky.)

Here’s one container

IMG_1700

for throwing away unhelpful things that other people have said.

Here’s another container

photo (53)

for holding “emergency messages” that help during times of trouble.

Where was I? Oh, yes. I was writing about a container for difficult-to-manage feelings, that might come up during healing work for past traumatic experiences.

When the expert spoke about this, I immediately thought of this container (front and center, in picture):

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Over the years, I have witnessed a lot of healing, through the creation of art.

Sometimes, that art includes drawings:

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Sometimes, it includes different kinds of art:

download

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Sometimes, it includes many people, healing together:

banner1*

That concludes our blog post for today, ladies and gentlemen.

Thanks to Elisa Tenenbaum (again), Cathy Malchiodi, Kenneth Bruscia, healers  and experts everywhere, and to you, for visiting today.

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* For more about this, see this website: http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/haiti/

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 289: Sometimes, it just helps to know you’re not alone

Two confessions, this morning:

  1. Sometimes, I confuse words for things. For example,  I’ll say “January” when I mean “July.”  I wonder if people think —  when I do that — that I am confused about what time of year it is.  THAT could be embarrassing.
  2. Sometimes, I procrastinate making changes. That can feel embarrassing, too.

So it helps when I realize that I’m not alone in these imperfections. Especially when I realize that I am joined by a person — or an establishment — that I respect.

Therefore, I was pleased to see this sign, this past October weekend, in front of one of my favorite local restaurants.

Image

Besides the headline, I want to point out some other things about that sign:

  1. It’s located in the eastern United States (not in Australia or any other place south of the equator).
  2. It uses one of my favorite words (“yummy”).
  3. It concludes with something I’ve considered using more of, lately (an emoticon).

If you don’t like emoticons, insert your own preferred smiling image, here, to conclude.

Wait!  Before I do end today’s blog post, I’d like to present some of MY preferred smiling images (from previous posts, this year):

photo (28)photo (13)IMG_0206IMG_0329IMG_0256IMG_0499IMG_0524IMG_0609IMG_0611IMG_0762IMG_0769adams-rib-poster3IMG_1291photo (51)IMG_0877IMG_0561Micah kickphoto (56)IMG_1423IMG_1433IMG_0084IMG_1151IMG_0093IMG_1162

There’s more, but it’s time for me to end this post, people!

Thanks to Patou Thai Restaurant, people confused in any way by seasonal change, procrastinators (and anti-crastinators, if such people exist), smilers everywhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 288: Expected/Unexpected

Yesterday, I went for a long walk, through places I’ve been before.

As a matter of fact,  I wrote a blog post, over 100 days ago, called “Surprised by Joy,” which included pictures from a similar walk.

I was surprised, again; this time, because part of the walk had been transformed. 

In previous visits, I had walked by a large portion of fenced-off land, where changes were obviously happening. Yesterday, I saw the result of those changes.

This morning, I would like to share some photos I took, as I encountered that unexpected transformation.

I don’t know details about this transformation, and I don’t have time to find out more right now, before I leave for work (after a 3-day weekend).

I do want to tell you one detail, though.

On my walk, yesterday, I did not expect to stop and take photos. I was focused on the purpose for the walk, with an end-point in mind. And I thought I knew what that walk would be.

But in the moment, yesterday, I stopped and looked.

Here are some photos I took, where everything old was new, again.

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Thanks to the Mystic River Watershed, to all those who contributed to creating the images in this post, and to you, especially, for joining my path today.

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

Day 287: Opening a can of worms

“Opening a can of worms” is an idiom.

“Idiom” is a word I avoid, sometimes, because it sounds like the word “idiot.”

When people use this idiom, it’s a warning about a possible negative result of change.

If you […insert change here….], you’ll be opening a can of worms!

I hear this a lot, from within and without.

If you try something new, and it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like an idiot!

If you ….

  1. change a process, at work or elsewhere,
  2. talk to somebody about something upsetting,
  3. introduce somebody new into your life,
  4. move, one way or another,
  5. take a risk, of any kind

… you might be opening up a can of worms.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeek!   Worms!!!

Image

Last week, at work, we were discussing a possible change, and a manager used that expression.

Yesterday, at home, I was discussing a possible change with my boyfriend, and he used that expression.

I’m not kidding, people, I hear that expression a lot.

This is what I said to my boyfriend, though:

Wait a minute!  We might be opening up a can of worms, it’s true.  But, Michael!  It’s just a can!

Because I was picturing a can of this size:

Image

and so was he.

So I asked,

Why are people so scared of opening a can of worms, then?

Here’s a quote, from Mental Floss, about the idiom:

Metaphorically speaking, to open a can of worms is to examine or attempt to solve some problem, only to inadvertently complicate it and create even more trouble. Literally speaking, opening a can of worms, as most fishermen can attest, can also mean more trouble than you bargained for.

Here’s another one, from Yahoo Answers:

Opening a can of worms means to start to reveal something that will be messy and hard to conceal. A literal can of worms would be filled with hundreds of squirmy worms that would fall all over the place. Attempting to catch all of them and get them back in the can would be very difficult. The same goes for so many things in our lives. Sometimes there are things that we say that can’t be reversed or put back in the can, as it were. And like the worms that spread out everywhere the thing in question will spread out and impact other people.

Hmmm.  So I guess the fear makes sense, doesn’t it?

But, as I said to Michael,

What if the worms DO all escape?  How can they hurt us, really?

I mean, it’s not like we’re opening up a Tanker of Tarantulas.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not so scared about opening up a can of worms, right now.

Thanks to Michael, grasshopper_ramblin, spaghetti in cans, worms everywhere, people considering a change, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 286: Duck Test

According to Wikipedia,

The duck test is a humorous term for a form of inductive reasoning. This is its usual expression:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

The test implies that a person can identify an unknown subject by observing that subject’s habitual characteristics. It is sometimes used to counter abstruse arguments that something is not what it appears to be.

This morning, I was remembering somebody quoting the Duck Test, many moons ago.

It was a facilitator at a two-day Opening the Heart  workshop, which  was attended by around 70 people. (That’s a large group, people.)

He was describing, to us all,  the final exercise of the weekend.

I remember that guy.  He was a gentle-looking fellow, with a beard.

Because I struggle with detailed visual memory, I’ll turn to my old standby, Google Images, for some help in describing him.

This is the first person that came up, for “gentle looking fellow with a beard”:

Image*

Really.

Anyway, the facilitator at the workshop (who actually DID look a little like that guy, above),  explained how the exercise would work.  He told us that we would form two large circles, half of the people on the outside and half the people on the inside.

Like this:

Image**

 

As the circles of people moved, stopped, moved and stopped again, we gave and received authentic feedback with each other.

I remember the facilitator making these two important points, regarding the feedback we would hear:

  1. What other people say to you, about you, usually has to do with THEM.
  2. However, if you hear the same things over and over again, that’s probably about YOU.

And that’s when he quoted the Duck Test.

I remember, having this thought, in response: ‘He’s gently and effectively giving guidance about how to hear negative feedback.”

What I didn’t consider, back then:  His guidance applied to positive feedback, too.

As I’ve confessed before, I (like many other people I’ve met) can struggle with believing positive feedback, no matter how many times I hear it.

I could expound, at this point, about the first Cognitive Distortion on this list:

  1. Negative filtering (also known as “Disqualifying the positive”).
    This is when we focus on the negative, and filter out all positive aspects of a situation.  For example, you get a good review at work with one critical comment, and the criticism becomes the focus, with the positive feedback fading or forgotten. You dismiss positives by explaining them away — for example, responding to a compliment with the thought, “They were just being nice.”

 

However, I’d rather end by returning to the duck test:

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

I’d rather end that way, especially since my reply to this (old standby) question

“If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be?”***

is this:

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Really.

Thanks to Opening the Heart,  ducks everywhere,  people who wear unusual hats,  givers and receivers of feedback, and to you, too, for reading today.


* From Reddit: Here’s me wearing a rejected kitty hat.

** From Google Images, again.

*** From Saturday Night Live: Father Guido Sarducci

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

Day 285: How to choose a doctor

Dear Readers,

I would like to share my abundant expertise with you about an important and timely topic.

Where I live, everybody is talking about health care.

And no matter where you are, having a good doctor on your team is really important.

Here’s what I’ve learned — over many decades of experience — about choosing a doctor.

  1. Make a list of your priorities.  In other words, think about what’s important, to you, in a doctor.
  2. Be an educated and self-empowered consumer. That is, ask to meet different doctors until you find one that matches your priorities well enough.

It’s a short list, isn’t it?  However, it took me a long time to figure that out.

But that’s how I always choose doctors, ever since I’ve become an adult.

Let me show you how it works, for me.

Here’s my list of priorities, for a doctor:

  1. Experience with my medical issues (or, at least, eager to get more experience).
  2. Listens well.
  3. Explains and communicates well.
  4. Flexible thinker  (in order to understand unexpected and complex issues of care).
  5. Responsive to requests, in a timely enough manner.
  6. Demonstrates kindness and compassion.
  7. Creates a comfortable enough atmosphere.

For every doctor involved in my care, I’ve made choices, using that list of priorities.

Last week, I saw my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Laura Snydman.  She definitely meets my priorities.

Here’s some proof, of at least one of those priorities:

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Don’t you agree?

Thanks to Dr. Snydman, adorable dogs everywhere, compassionate treaters of all kinds, people dealing with health care issues,  and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

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