Monthly Archives: April 2015

Day 850: Drowning in the sea of ____.

Because I never learned how to swim, perhaps it’s easy for me to feel like I’m drowning in seas, sometimes.

Because, in four days,  I’m having surgery — which could prevent my very unusual heart from drowning in the sea of heart failure  — I could be drowning, now, in the sea of:

  • anxiety,
  • fear,
  • worry, and
  • other uncomfortable feelings.

However, I am staying bouyant, well enough, to notice the many different  seas all around me.

Here’s the sea of music I was pleasantly drowning in yesterday morning:

As I was drowning happily in the musical sea of Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, and the rest of the New York Rock and Soul Review‘s “Drowning in the Sea of Love,” I drowned in the sea of …


… hot dog rolls, near Fenway Park, and

… trees, in the Longwood Medical area of Boston, Massachusetts.

Then, I did a therapy group at work, where people talked about drowning in the seas of

  • financial worries,
  • medical problems,
  • confusion,
  • isolation,
  • troubled minds,
  • judgmental people,
  • self-doubt,
  • guilt,
  • shame, and
  • other overwhelming problems.

However, the mutual support of the group kept everybody afloat for a good while.

Later that day, I was drowning in the sea of Starbucks

  

where I said goodbye to the wonderful barrista, Erin.

Mosham

— who also works at Starbucks and who was trying not to drown  in the sea of beverage orders — helped me not drown in the sea of sadness about Erin’s leaving by giving me this:

It’s a new chocolate cookie straw at Starbucks, which was soon

drowning in the sea of chai tea misto, in my office.

Those flyers —  on my desk, next to the tea misto —  are for a Group Therapy Conference in June, where I’ll be drowning in the sea of other group therapists and amazing learning.  I will be giving a workshop there on June 6 about my therapy groups, so I hope I won’t be drowning in the sea of  presentation jitters.

Yesterday, I was also drowning in the sea of


      

construction work,


cups,


cupcakes, and


pet supplies.

Don’t these guinea pigs

look like they’re drowning in a sea of colored paper?

Here’s to everybody staying above water for another day!

I am drowning in the sea of gratitude for everything I witnessed yesterday and for you — of course! — for drowning in the sea of this blog post, here and now.

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

Day 849: The Art of the Heart

Yesterday, I saw some unexpected art, as I followed my heart.

                            


                  

One of the artful messages on that giant CD heart came from my heart. Could you guess, in your heart, which one it was?

More importantly, what heart-felt message might you have left on that art heart? How would you “make visible what makes your heart sing and how you carry the music of life”?

Here are two performances of music made visible on that heart (and on this heart, too):

“No Day But Today” (found here and there on YouTube) is from the artistic heart of Jonathan Larson.

It breaks my heart that Jonathan Larson’s big, 35-year-old heart stopped in 1996 — because of an undiagnosed tear in his aorta — a day before the debut of the musical Rent, which was the art of his heart, made visible.

A few more scenes — seen and not seen yesterday — from the heart of Boston, USA:

 
                   

Where we live

there’s only now

there’s only here

forget regret

no other way

no day but today.

Artful and heartful thanks to Jonathan Larson, the artists of Seen/Not Seen, Studios Without Walls, Riverway Park, Fenway Park, the cast of Rent, Idina Menzel, and you — of course! — for the heart you bring (no day but) today.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 848: Real Sugar

This is the first photo I took yesterday:

Real sugar is sweet. I’m not sure  what fake sugar is.

Here’s another real sugar shot I took yesterday, by a real sweet accident:


That’s my real sweet son, Aaron, home from his trip to Italy, where one of the highlights was the gelato.

I’m assuming that gelato in Italy is made with real sugar. Do you know, my sweet readers, the answers to these real sugar questions?

  1.  What are the ingredients in gelato, besides real sugar?
  2.  What makes gelato different from real sugar ice cream?
  3. What makes gelato in Italy more real than gelato anywhere else?

Those questions came up in a real  discussion I had with really sweet Aaron and my real sugar-pie honey-bunch Michael, last night.

Here are some other real photos I took yesterday, which I’m sweet on. Which ones are real sugar, to you?

                         

To me, sweet spring tree blossoms look like real spun sugar. For real, a sweet stranger was taking sweet photos of those same real sugar-sweet tree blossoms yesterday, and she was sweet enough to let me take this real picture:

Sweet! Here’s more real sugar, from yesterday:

 

Sugars, I took those last two shots — at home, sweet, home — of two real-sugar gifts my sweet son brought back from Italy for me and my sugarpie.

What real sugar song might you sweetly choose for this Real Sugar post?

I can’t help myself from using “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” with the Four Tops.

One more sugar shot, for real, before I publish this real sugar post:


Enlightenedly real sugar (or sugar-free) gratitude to Aaron, Michael, sweet refreshments (including gelato), sugar-like flowering trees, Fenway Park, the sweet stranger with the sugar-white iPhone, Kilwin’s chocolates, real thank you’s, tulips, earrings, snow globes, the Four Tops, sugar pies, honey bunches, and you — for your sweet visit here, today.

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

Day 847: Diversions

This past weekend was filled with diversions, as my divertingly long-time friend Barbara and I diverted ourselves from stress, worry, and anxiety in lovely New Hampshire.

Here’s one among many diversions I saw, yesterday, in downtown Portsmouth NH:


Puzzles and games can be pleasant and helpful diversions. Are you puzzled by that or any of the other diversions I was game enough to capture yesterday? 

                

              

                

The diversions of this past weekend were very welcome ones, especially since I can’t really divert myself from the knowledge that I’m having surgery a week from today.

Here’s a welcome diversion, though: most of my fears about next Monday’s surgery have been diverted by:

  • my trusted cardiologists, who are never diverted away from great care,
  • the non-invasive and low-risk nature of the surgery compared with heart valve surgery, which has been diverting me for about six months,
  • diverting my eyes and thoughts in new directions with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy,
  • the diversionary tactic of ignoring negative, unhelpful people, and
  • diverting my attention towards things I love.

Things I love include music, so here’s one of the best diversions I know: a most diverting tune about somebody desperately seeking diversions.

“Lush Life” — written by the divertingly talented Billy Strayhorn and performed by the divertingly epic combination of singer Johnny Hartman and saxophonist John Coltrane — provides amazing diversions on YouTube.

If you are diverted enough by the diversions in this post to offer diversions of your own in a comment, that would be most pleasantly diverting.

Diverting thanks to Barbara, New Hampshire, Portsmouth, people who live with and support others with chronic medical conditions, cardiologists Dr. Deeb Salem and Dr. Mark Estes, EMDR, Billy Strayhorn, Johnny Hartman, John Coltrane, all lives lush and non-lush, and you — of course! — for joining my diversions, here and now.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 846: Far away

Yesterday, my friend  Barbara and I drove only an hour from Boston to New Hampshire, but we got  so far away from

  • stress,
  • worry,
  • jealousies,
  • confusion,
  • pettiness,
  • pain,
  • judgment, and
  • fears about the future.

Here’s Barbara,  looking somewhat far away from me, over lunch:

Here are more far-away photos from yesterday:


            


            

  

                


    


Far and away, isn’t Barbara is the best get-away weekend planner, ever?!

Here’s a Far Away song for you all:

Carole King —  with the help of  James Taylor —  is singing “So Far Away” there, back in Boston.

Far and close thanks to Barbara, Carole King, James Taylor, getaways of any kind, Boston, New Hampshire, the good ships Ecsta Sea and Indigo Lady, water and fire, places to sit and rest, and you — of course! — no matter how far away you are.

Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 40 Comments

Day 845: Running

It’s a running tradition, in this blog, for me to write about yesterday.

Yesterday, when I was walking — not running — to work, my iPhone camera ran on its own, and took this photo:


Running at the bottom of that inadvertent photo are my current running shoes.

Because of the way my mind runs, my thoughts are now running back to my first pair of running shoes.

In the 1980s, a Boston-based show — Spenser: for Hire (based on a running series of successful detective/mystery books by Robert Parker) — was running weekly on television. One day, word ran through the Boston running community that the show wanted runners for an episode featuring a running of the Boston Marathon. Because my then-boyfriend (and future husband and the father of my son Aaron) was running marathons then, he received this information and ran it by me. I then went running to a store to buy my first pair of running shoes, hoping  I’d be running my way into an appearance on TV.

The day they were shooting that running (and shooting) scene,  I walked over to the Spenser: for Hire running location, which was about a half-mile away from where  we lived, as the crow runs (or flies). The reason I did not run over — and the reason I had never owned a pair of running shoes before —  was this: I’d  had —  since the age of 10 — fixed-rate cardiac pacemakers, which never ran faster or slower than a single rate. With a heart that ran 72 beats a minute every minute (even if I were running as fast as I could), I wasn’t doing much running, in my life.

Is my 1980’s running story running okay, so far?

Running back to that day of the running scene for Spenser: for Hire, the aspiring runners — including non-runner me  — were all hired as extras for the running scene. My excitement was running high — maybe I’d soon be seen running in a running scene on TV!

To film the marathon running scene that day, we ran  up and down a hill many times, as the cameras were running. To the experienced runners, this was a walk in the park. To me and my heart running on only 72 beats a minute, it was like running straight up a mountain.

I’d like to run ahead, now, in my running storytelling, to several weeks after we were running up and down that Boston hill for Spenser: for Hire. When that running episode ran in TV, guess who was shown running on the screen, right near Spenser?

I shall run by you, now, my running theory about why the people running the cameras and that show ran a close-up of me, rather than dozens of other runners. Unlike the real runners,  I looked as tired as if I’d been running, running, running a real marathon.

Because that episode is running on YouTube,* I’ll run that scene by you here, so you can make some running commentary about my TV running, if you choose.

If you run to the 2:17 mark in that running opening scene, you’ll see me running in  a red t-shirt and my first pair of running shoes.

Running back to the present, here’s what I just found, running all over the kitchen:


Those are the baggies of cat food my boyfriend Michael left out overnight for our neighbor, Karen, who will be running upstairs, later today, after I leave for a weekend get-away in New Hampshire with my friend Barbara. Why did Michael leave out those baggies of cat food? Because he left last night to help out his brother, who runs a catering business and who is running a wedding today.

To continue a running cat gag I first started in a previous mysterious post, I shall now ask you which cat you think perpetrated the crime.  In other words, who was running on top of the kitchen table in the middle of the night and running his teeth through the baggies until the cat food was running all over the floor?

Was it this cat?


Or was it this cat?

Or perhaps it was both cats, running amok.

I just ran over to add an update to Michael’s instructions to Karen:


In case you want a running song running here in this post, here’s “It Keeps You Runnin'” by the Doobie Brothers:

The “it” that keeps somebody running in that song is … what?

My running belief is that “it” is:

  • Worry,
  • Fear, and
  • Anxiety about connection.

No matter what keeps us running, I’ve got to run, now, to my get-away weekend in New Hampshire!

Running thanks to Spenser: for Hire; to The Doobie Brothers; to running shoes, boyfriends, cats, and neighbors; and to you — of course! — for running by here, today.


* As I’m checking this post today, that Spenser: for Hire episode, “Original Sin,” is not running on YouTube.  Maybe it’s available elsewhere on the web?

Categories: mystery, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 844: Gifts

What gifts are in your life, right now? What are you grateful for, in the present?

I am grateful for the gifts of:

  • another day,
  • meaningful work,
  • freedom from pain and want, in this moment,
  • good weather,
  • nature,
  • my family and friends,
  • animals near and far,
  • attentive and competent medical treaters, where I work and where I live,
  • kindness, wherever and whenever I find it, and
  • blogging!

I have been given the incredible gift of people who regularly read this blog. Those readers might be noticing that I’ve given no photographic gifts to support this post, so far.

That’s because I took very few visual gifts away from my surroundings yesterday.

Why?

Perhaps I was focusing more on appreciating the gifts in every moment, rather than capturing those gifts on my iPhone.

However, I do have two photographic gifts to share with you. I took those gifts away from a therapy group last night, where the group members offered the gifts of

  • vulnerability,
  • courage,
  • hope,
  • personal pain,
  • empathy

… and so much more.

Inspired by them, I offered the gift of a new group activity, where people gave gifts, using the paper and markers in the group room.

I offered the gift of these guidelines:

  1. You can give gifts to anybody in the room, including yourself.
  2. You have the option of turning down any gift.
  3. When you give somebody else a gift, you can also accept that gift for yourself. 

Here’s a gift somebody gave me:

Here’s a gift I gave myself, after somebody gave us the gift of the term “Akashic Record”:


Because I’ve never had the gift of great handwriting, here’s what I inscribed in my personal Book of Life, last night:

Good stuff
More good stuff
It’s all good, even
the not good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff, here are some gifts in my immediate future:

  • another day at work, where I get the gift of witnessing people healing in therapy,
  • a get-away weekend in New Hampshire with Barbara (who has been giving me the gift of her friendship since we were both little kids), and
  • the return home, from a trip to Italy, of my 17-year old son, who is an amazing gift to me.

Here’s my Friday gift of music, from the gifted Elton John:

YouTube gave me that gift of “Your Song.”

Any gifts you’d like to leave below, in a comment?

The gift of gratitude to all those who gave me the gifts to create this post and to you — of course! — for the gifts you bring here, today.

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

Day 843: Daily Fantasy

Yesterday, on my way to work, I saw this:


Here are some of my daily fantasies:

  • Kindness is as valued and rewarded as ambition is.
  • People have room  to experience and express tears, fears, disappointments,  AND joys.
  • We learn to focus more on the gifts of the present, letting go of regrets about the past and anxieties about the future.
  • Accomplishments and possibilities get as much attention as problems, mistakes, and limitations.
  • I feel more secure, daily, about all my blogging photos and words staying where I put them.  
  • Asking for support from each other is never seen as “weak.”
  • People get enough of what they need each day, including water, chocolate,  or anything else.
  • Each of the four seasons in New England, USA,  lasts the  full three months (instead of a certain cold and unnamed season getting more air time than the other three).

Here are some daily fantasies I saw yesterday, as I tripped the light fantastic:

            

                  


Another daily fantasy of mine: that you express whatever you choose,  in a comment below.

Here are Tears for Fears describing a daily fantasy for lots of people, live:

Is that true? Does everybody want to rule the world?

Fantastic thanks to all who helped me create this fantasy of a post today and thanks to you — of course! — for being here.

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

Day 842: Every day a little _____

A little while ago, this sleep machine


crashed to the floor and woke me up.

Every day a little crash.

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little


Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little


Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little

Every day a little weather

Every day a little

Every day a little

 .

Every day a little music. Many days a little Sondheim.

Every day a little post.

Every day a little comment?

Every day a lot of thanks to Stephen Sondheim, to all the little things in life, and — of course! — to you.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 47 Comments

Day 841: Storytellers

On Saturday, I took this photo:

Every picture tells a story. Does that tell a story to you?

I often tell the story that we are all storytellers, as we communicate and shape our life experiences.

During this  Patriots’ Day weekend, I told stories here on WordPress and elsewhere. I also heard stories told of and by other people, including:

As usual, the storytelling included attempts to make meaning out of very different aspects and behaviors of human beings.

I shall now continue the story of this post by asking this question:

What kind of storyteller are you?

If I tell a story by asking others a question, it’s only fair that I answer that question, too. So, what kind of storyteller am I?

Well, I strive to be a storyteller who is:

  • authentic,
  • thoughtful,
  • inclusive,
  • open-minded,
  • gentle,
  • unblinking,
  • clear,
  • serious,
  • humorous,
  • helpful in some way, and
  • always learning.

I just asked my boyfriend Michael, “What kind of storyteller are you?” and he said

Beats me, baby

so I’ll tell this very particular  story about what kind of storyteller Michael is:

A delicious one.

Here’s some Storytellers music:

I’ll end today’s story by showing you somebody who somehow reminds me of the luck-dragon in The Neverending Story:

 

That’s my story (and our cat Harley).

Storied thanks to all good people and creatures who helped me tell my story today and special thanks to you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , | 30 Comments

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