Monthly Archives: March 2015

Day 810: Improvements

Yesterday, I witnessed and participated in several improvements, including:

  • people working to improve coping skills and reduce anxiety, depression, and stress,
  • me overcoming anxiety and improving myself by singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”  at a party, and
  • comedian Steven Wright, creatively and hilariously  improving people’s moods last night at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre.

Today, I’ve witnessed and participated in several technological  “improvements” which have made it more difficult to:

  • share my video of my singing performance and
  • write this blog post.

At this point, despite several tries (and searches for help online), I cannot “improve” YouTube by posting  my singing performance there from my iPhone (done easily, twice, in 2014).

However, I do know how to improve this post with some photos from yesterday:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I shall now improve your understanding of those photos. Three of them were taken at the party. Also, I snapped the last shot after I FOUND A PARKING SPACE  DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE WILBUR THEATER!!!

Talk about improvements.

All right, dear readers (who improve my life, daily), I shall now try to improve this post (which I’m creating on my iPhone) by including  last night’s video the same way I include photos here (a feat of improvement, strength, and skill never before attempted by me).

Nope. Can’t do it.

Here’s another improvement I am noticing in myself, right now.

Often, when I cannot do something I’ve been able to do before, I get:

  • anxious,
  • depressed,
  • stressed, and
  • freaked out.

I hope it’s an improvement to this post to share that I’m not alone in this.

Here’s today’s improvement:

I am letting go of my disappointment in not improving this post in all the ways I’d like to, right now. I have faith that, with help from others, I shall be able to improve a future blog post with my video from the party.

I shall now further improve this blog post with this Steven Wright line from last night:

I was wondering how my life might have been different if I’d been born one day earlier, and I thought it wouldn’t be different at all, except that I’d have asked that question yesterday.

How might you improve this post with a comment, today ?

Thanks to everybody who improved my life yesterday and to you — of course! — for improving my world, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

Day 809: Comfort Zones

At a therapy group last night, we focused on the topic of comfort zones.

People spoke, wrote, and drew images about comfort, discomfort, and challenging/going outside of their comfort zones.

Here’s something else I wrote, yesterday, on a whiteboard in the comfort zone of my office, hoping to reduce the discomfort caused by the uncomfortable cognitive distortion of mind-reading:

Here are some comfort  zones I saw yesterday:

I’m still not completely in a comfort zone with this sleep machine:

…. but I got enough comfortable sleep last night. That’s comforting, because

  1. I  am going outside my comfort zone this evening, when I sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” at a party and
  2. immediately after that, I’ll be seeing the comfortably funny while seemingly uncomfortable comedian, Steven Wright.

Why is singing in public a discomfort zone for me? Because of this: when I was very young, I zoned out on stage and forgot the lyrics while I was singing, once.

No matter what happens this evening, I hope to increase my comfort zone about singing in public.

It is well within my comfort zone to post videos in this blog. So, here’s an in-the-zone, a capella street version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” (also in a comfort zone at YouTube).

Also from The YouTube Zone, here is Steven Wright’s first 1982 appearance on the Tonight Show, when he left behind the comfort zone of the local Boston comedy clubs:

What are your thoughts about comfort, discomfort, and comfort zones?

Comfortable thanks to lions and cats, sleep and sleep machines,  A Capella Soul, Steven Wright, people who work on decreasing their discomfort and increasing their comfort in group and individual therapy, those who are brave enough to leave their comfort zones, and you — of course! — for visiting this blogging zone, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 808: Changing the _____ World

Yesterday, on my walks, in group and individual therapy, at meetings, at a town hall, and at my son’s school,  I witnessed many people doing their best changing their worlds.

Here’s how I changed my own world,  by capturing words and worlds on my iPhone camera:

What helps me change my personal world includes:

  • patience,
  • passion, and
  • belief in the world’s capacity to change.

Here’s some world-changing music:

If that live version of “Change the World” by Eric Clapton isn’t changing your  world right now, you can find it in The World of YouTube.

How would you change your world?

A world of thanks to gloves, love, Fenway Park statues, honesty, trust, people who heal individually and in groups, tea, Christiane Corcelle, the Fab Four, my son’s school, Eric Clapton, world-changers everywhere, and — of course! — to you, for changing my world, today.

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

Day 807: Cherish

I cherish:

  • my son,
  • my boyfriend Michael,
  • the delicious food Michael cooks for us,



  • my family and friends,



  • waking up to another day,
  • my very unusual heart and the more mundane parts of me,
  • the time I spend every day creating a blog post,
  • your time and attention,
  • our cats,



  • fresh fruit,



  • chocolate,



  • silliness,
  • my ability to exercise,



  • the things I see around me, no matter what the weather,









  • art,



  • things I see at home,





  • all my memories (even the difficult ones),
  • all the faces I’ve seen (no matter what their expressions),



  • the work I get to do with people in group and individual therapy,



  • books,



  • and, last but not least, music. 

I cherish both versions of “Cherish” by Pat Metheny and by the Association (and I cherish how easy they were to find on YouTube). 

What do you cherish?

Cherishing thanks to all in this post and — naturally! — to cherished you (and the cherished time you spent here today). 

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

Day 806: Something to remind you

Here’s something to remind you that Spring is coming:

Here’s lots of  freaking data to remind us that  Spring isn’t here, yet:

 

I need something to remind me that

  • The path may be icy, but I have the skills and the knowledge to move forward,
  •  I can’t please everybody on the way,
  • I do not have to re-prove my worth every day,
  • I can look up to others and others can look up to me,
  • I can be on the same level as others, look them in the eye, and demand to be heard,
  • Losing things is not the same as losing people,
  • Hearts beat a limited number of times, which reminds me to treasure every heartbeat,
  • We cannot control what others say or do, but we have choices of how to react,
  • Carrots work better than sticks to motivate ourselves and others,
  • Inevitably, we make mistakes, hurt others’ feelings, misunderstand, and are misunderstood,
  • Expecting the worst doesn’t contribute to a better outcome,
  • Worry interferes with action and connection with others,
  • Direct, authentic, and open communication helps relationships,
  • Being messy is not a sin,
  • All feelings are valid,
  • Fear can be an automatic, self-perpetuating habit,
  • People have the ability to change,
  • Lists are always incomplete, and
  • Everybody has unique gifts to share.

Speaking of unique gifts, somebody left this gift for me at work yesterday:

I believe that’s a double-edged sword.

That sword, now between a magic wand and a three-hole punch,  is something else to remind me to teach, learn, and hope.

Today’s date, March 17, is something to remind me of someone committing suicide over 10 years ago.  I remind myself: We can’t control what others do. We can only do our best to show up, be gentle, and tell the truth, here and now. 

Here’s something that reminded me, musically, yesterday:

I’ll remind you that “Something to Remind You” by the Pat Metheny Group can be found on YouTube.

What has this post reminded  you of? What somethings are reminders for you?

I don’t need to be reminded to thank everyone who inspired and helped me to write this post today, including you.

Categories: anniversary, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 805: March comes in like a ____ and goes out like a ____.

It’s the middle of March, so — here in the Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally —  it’s time to decide how it comes in and how it goes out!

According to the old saying, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

Here are The Tokens coming in, like lions:

I’m coming in now — like an Ann Koplow — to tell you that “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is the song I’m planning on singing at a party this Friday. I’ll be singing that unless somebody or something comes in to interfere (like the Steven Wright comedy show I’ll be attending with my son that same night).

Where you live, what does March come in like?

Now, like a lion or a lamb, I’d like to post a photo.

Ooops!  I thought I took a photo of my purple pen posing with lambs on Saturday, but I didn’t. Here’s another photo, instead:

IMG_6576

Maybe, around here, March goes out like

  • chocolate matzo covered with sprinkles or
  • a bunny.

Where you live, what does March go out like?

Now, I’ve got to go out like an Ann Koplow and get ready for work.

Many thanks to The Tokens, the lions, the lambs, the bunnies, the chocolate, the matzos, the sprinkles, and — of course! — to you, for marching by here today.

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

Day 804: Timeless

I have less time to write this morning, because I’ll be spending less time than 9 hours at a retreat with other group therapists today. 

I’ve had less time for all my usual routines this weekend because of today’s group therapy retreat and the two performances of Arlington Children’s Theater production of Hairspray that I attended yesterday, with two different casts.

I took some time to take some timeless shots of Hairspray yesterday:

 





(Those photos might make more sense if — at some point — you take more time to look at yesterday’s post.)

Because we had less time for food shopping this weekend, I took  timeless supermarket photos on Saturday, not Sunday:

























Do you think I should have spent less or more time taking photos yesterday?

I’ll wait no time before showing you two versions of today’s song, “Timeless to Me” from  Hairspray:

It took me less time than two shakes of a bunny’s tale to find John Travolta and Christopher Walken singing “Timeless to Me” on YouTube and a little more time to find that UK stage version with Michael Ball and Micky Dolenz (who I spent a lot of time watching on The Monkees, more time ago than I can imagine).

I have less time than a half-hour to get ready for today’s group therapy retreat, so here’s just a little more about “Timeless”:

  • What’s timeless to me might not be timeless to you,
  • I hope to spend less time —  today and all my tomorrows — worrying about taking up the  “right” amount of time and space, and
  • My bf Michael took a lot less time making these than I would have:



Timeless thanks to Michael (for taking the time to make those three quiches for today’s retreat); to my niece Victoria and my son Aaron for the time they gave to ACT’s Hairspray; to John Travolta, Christopher Walken, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Ball; to all the timeless performers appearing in this post; and more thanks to you for spending more time here, today. 

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 803: Points

There are several points I’d like to make in today’s post. This point is as good as any other point to start making these points:

  • This point in time is a one-point-in-a-century Pi Day in the USA, because if you remove the slashes in today’s date — 3/14/15 — and replace the first one with a decimal point, you get the first five numbers of Pi: 3.1415.
  • At points during this morning, my son Aaron (who turned 17 at the precise point of 2/23 last month) will be taking his SATs (which stood for Scholastic Aptitude Tests, at some point).
  • Aaron’s  pointed answers to those pointed test questions might  point him towards  some pointy-headed colleges, and he needs two pointy #2 pencils to take the test.
  • At 10 o’clock this morning, I will be seeing the musical “Hairspray” during which I’ll probably point at the stage at some point and  whisper to my ex-sister-in-law, Deborah: “Look! It’s my great niece and your granddaughter, Victoria!”
  • 10 AM in the morning is a surprisingly early point to see a live musical, if you get my point.
  • At all the other performances of “Hairspray” this weekend, my son Aaron is responsible for pointing the lights at the actors.
  • Tomorrow, Sunday — a point in my  week when I’m usually relaxing — I will be spending point-in-time  9 AM to point-in-time 4 PM at a retreat where 20+ people will be making points about a subject they feel pointedly passionate about: group therapy.

It is now that point in my posts where I show you what I’ve pointed my iPhone camera at, recently:

I’d like to point out — in that last photo — that there are no points on those two #2 pencils my son is holding. Aaron made the point he’ll give those two pencils some pointy points with a pencil sharpener at the testing center.

Soon after I pointed my camera at Aaron this morning,  I remembered the point that it’s bad luck to wish somebody luck at any point before a performance, so instead of saying “Good Luck” or “Break a leg!” to him, I said, “Break a pencil!”

Here’s a song I’ll be hearing and seeing at one point and Aaron wil be seeing and hearing at four points this weekend:

If you can’t start the beat of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray, you can find it on YouTube, at any point.

Have you ever heard it’s impolite to point? Feel free to get points with me by making points about that or about any other points or photos  in this post, in a pointed comment.

Pointed thanks to Aaron, Deborah, and Victoria; to people who do healing work in groups; to Pi; to pencils with points; to Hairspray (which I typed differently at various points); to all who helped me make the points in this post; to semi-colons (which are just commas with points over them); and — even more pointedly — to my readers, who are more than a thousand points of light in my life, at this point.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 802: How to set limits

  1. Be aware of your limits.
  2. Recognize you have every right to have limits and to set them.
  3. Express your limits to others as clearly and simply as you can.
  4. If other people push or overstep these limits, express those limits again.
  5. Repeat as necessary.
  6. Let go of any worries you have about setting limits.

Yesterday, I set limits with several people, at work and elsewhere. And while I had some concerns that I might

  • hurt people’s feelings,
  • be judged,
  • be misunderstood, or
  • damage connections,

… setting limits actually improved each situation. 

Here’s a  limit I’m setting here:

When you set limits effectively, you remove limits for growth,  for you and others. 

What limits might you set, now?

There were definite limits to my photo-taking yesterday: I only took three.  Here are all the images I captured on my phone, with photographic limits: 


Because I’m the one setting the limits here, I’ll also show you a limited number of photos I’ve limited from previous posts (according to my limited memory):

Because there are limits to what others might see in my photos, I’ll tell you this about that last one: Oscar set a limit with that cat toy, by destroying it.

What limits can I set with “limited” music, right now?

Here are some limited results from YouTube, in response to “Unlimited Wicked” (see here and here):

Here’s my limited ending: quoting that song from the musical “Wicked.”

Together, we’re unlimited.

Unlimited thanks to all who helped me expand my creative limits with this post, to all who set, respect, and test limits, and to you — of course! — for whatever you do with limits, today.

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

Day 801: How to ask for what you need. 

  1. Identify, as clearly as possible in the moment, what you need.
  2. Identify who is most likely to help you get that need met.
  3. Let go of any worries and concerns about what might happen if you ask for what you need.
  4. Ask.
  5. If you don’t get what you need, ask again.
  6. If you don’t get what you need after asking somebody again, ask somebody else.
  7. If nobody is giving you what you asked for, consider whether you are asking the best people and whether you are asking clearly.
  8. Ask again.
  9. If asking others is still not yielding satisfactory results, consider ways to meet that need on your own.
  10. Let go of any negative thoughts or shame that came up for you, in steps 1 – 9.

Lately, I’ve been asking for what I need in many areas, including:

  • Help with my taxes. 
  • Decisions about my health. 
  • Singing at a party, next week. 

Here are some photos I took yesterday to meet my needs, without asking. 


Here’s a song about needing and wanting:

If you need or want to see The Rolling Stones performing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,”  you can ask for that on YouTube.

I hope you ask for what you need, after reading this post.

I need to thank all those who helped me create this post today, especially the wonderful people at Tufts Medical Center and Beacon Hill Dental Associates, who met my very important need yesterday of getting my teeth cleaned. I also want to thank the Charles Street area of Boston MA USA, PetSmart, Staples, the Rolling Stones, and — of course! — you, my readers, whom I need (in case you need to ask).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

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