Day 942: Out of the corner of my eye

Yesterday, the weather was so warm and muggy in Boston that — when I saw an air conditioned shuttle bus out of the corner of my eye — I decided to hop on to a corner of that bus, rather than taking the corners of my usual walk to work.

As the bus took a few corners, I glimpsed these three images out of the corner of my eye and put them into a corner of my iPhone:

Something about that last photo put this thought into the corner of my mind:

“Out of the corner of my eye” is the title of my next blog post.

Almost immediately, I saw this out of the corner of my eye:

That’s a big stuffed animal, sitting in the corner.

When I got to my office, I saw many people out of the corner of my eye, sitting in different corners and talking about painful corners of their lives.

My hope is that having a safe space with comfortable corners helped some of them turn a corner, into healing.

During different corners of the day I saw these out of the corner of my eye, between the four corners of my office whiteboard:

If you had been in yesterday’s  therapy group about denial, you might have seen this (which I drew between the four corners of some paper):

Later, I wrote this between the corners of some paper in a second therapy group, where people felt cornered by shame and guilt about their own selfishness:

Perhaps the corners of your eyes are having trouble making sense of the four words between the corners of that photo. That was just one of my many attempts to prove to group members — who had put themselves  into painful corners of self-judgment about being too focused on the “I” —   that selfishness could be helpful and even strengthening.

In that group, somebody I could see out of the corner of my eye — sitting in the corner of the room  — gave us this helpful rule about selfishness:

If you are worried about being too selfish, you’re not.

After my work day was over, I saw this out of the corner of my eye:

Then,  I walked through all the corners between my workplace and my work garage, and saw these out of the corner of my eye:



What did you notice, out of the corner of your eye?

Here’s a song about seeing I heard out of the corners of my ears yesterday:

“I Can See Your House from Here” is from an album of the same name by John Scofield and Pat Metheny, whom I’ve seen through many, many corners over the years. On that entire album, John Scofield’s guitar comes out of the left corner of the stereo sound and Pat Metheny’s guitar comes out of the right corner.

Multi-cornered thanks to all the people I saw and heard yesterday and — of course! — to you, for all the corners you’ve taken on your way here, today.

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

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35 thoughts on “Day 942: Out of the corner of my eye

  1. Ann, I love how you captured things out of the corner of your eye (and other bits) I’ll be looking out of corners and into corners today! xo

  2. Reminded me immediately of Comfortably Numb. Have it going around in my head now.

  3. I’m glad you captured a seat in a corner of that cool bus on such a hot and humid day! It was so. Muggy in NYC yesterday it felt like swimming through the air! Btw, love that backpack psychoed bit. Gonna use that! Wish I g you a cool day of healing and peace of mind.

    • Love that you love that backpack, Sunny. That’s the first time I’ve drawn anything like that between the corners of my office whiteboard.

  4. Love the multi-cornered approach today, Ann. You’ve certainly captured some interesting things from the corner of your eye. A nice, air conditioned bus on a hot, humid day is ‘just the ticket; – to coin a very English term! I also love the purple skies in two of your great photos today. So glad you put all these in a corner of your iphone. Your phrase about people putting themselves in ‘painful corners of self-judgment’ is one I well worth remembering. Thank you for sharing that.

  5. I am planning a vacation for my family which is a difficult thing, because everyone wants something a bit different, and although they are quite opinionated about what it is they want, none of them are committed enough to put the energy forth to make that happen. I felt like I was in a corner I couldn’t get out of (out of the corner of my eye I saw 4 corners and no exit). But then….then I thought outside the box, away from the corners, and I was in a big circle filled with possibilities – and I came up with the most brilliant idea that makes everyone happy. The pieces have fallen into place. And now I notice out of the corner of my eye the big dinner plate sized hibiscus, has bloomed into a most perfect blossom on the edge of the patio. Yay!!! It is going to be a beautiful day!!!!

  6. With your good eye you have cornered your usual excellent photos. I particularly like the bus shots, the third of which raises a question in my mind

  7. I see a panda, and I can bear your trolley ride on a hot day, Ann. The color of the sky over Fenway is ominous, and I’m in this selfishly to learn something and share my puns, too.

  8. This took me straight back to childhood and a bit of Kipling, part of the Camel’s marching song;
    Can’t! Don’t! Shan’t! Won’t!
    Pass it along the line!
    Somebody’s pack has slid from his back,
    ‘Wish it were only mine!
    Somebody’s load has tipped off in the road–
    Cheer for a halt and a row!
    Urrr! Yarrh! Grr! Arrh!
    Somebody’s catching it now!
    Sorry, it’s not very relevant, but it made me happy to remember it. I learnt a lot from Kipling.

    • Whatever you express from the corners of your mind is always relevant and lovely, Hilary. This backpacking comment not only connects to today’s post but also — in my cornered mind — connects to tomorrow’s.

  9. I saw a sandwich in there, Ann, that might feed a small family. ☺

  10. As far as blogs posts that have themes Ann, I believe you’ve cornered that market!

  11. Ann, I really like what you wrote on the whiteboard about “somebody else’s backpack, put it down!” It’s brilliant!

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw your word analogies from selfish, to shellfish, mussels, and muscles. What coincidence that the other night I read about “oysters” because I was curious as to why they “clamp” themselves so tightly. Oysters clamp like that because they have extremely strong adductor muscles to close their shells when threatened. It made me think that us humans do the same thing, we “clamp” ourselves really tightly like oysters or shellfish. The real “pearl” oysters are very deep in the ocean and are not harvested. Pearl oysters produce pearls by covering a minute invading parasite with nacre. Over the years, the irritating object is covered with enough layers of nacre to become a pearl. So, out of “irritating” things in life, pearls can grow!

    Lastly, over the years I’ve almost eradicated the word “I”, “me”, “my” or “mine” from my everyday language. I may use it occasionally with family members, but I make it a rule to not say “my” or “mine” in any sentence. I’ve found it helpful because it decentralises the ego and I feel more objective, although I know deep inside that some things are mine, I try not to say it aloud since to me it sounds selfish and it makes me too subjective. I hope this makes sense.

    • What you write always makes sense brilliantly, Maria.

      I am not sure whether somebody calling themselves “selfish” (or “too subjective”) helps in healing and growth; that’s the question I was asking the group members.

      You, however, are the expert on what helps you and maybe that IS beneficial for you.

      To me, labeling the self as “selfish” sounds self-judgmental and, as always, I wonder about the cost. Does that help us improve and change, or does it cause internal shame?

      I don’t know the answers. We all need to pack our individual unique backpacks with helpful tools and put down the (often inherited) shame can keep us stuck.

      • Thanks Ann. I know what you mean. If you notice, any adjective applied to humans seem to carry a “judgemental” overtone. I also believe that “selfish” can be beneficial. However, over the years, I have found that now that I’m quite middle aged, dropping the “my”, “mine” or “me” has helped me because it gets rid of false ideas or illusions. When one is younger it’s okay because one has to grow and one has to experience life, but as an older person, I feel these words just don’t fit in with reality because as Buddhist philosophy claims, nothing in life is really ours, because of the nature of “dukkha” (pain):

        I agree, there are no easy answers. Why did you write on the whiteboard all these words: “selfish, to shellfish, mussels, and muscles”?

      • I wrote that on a piece of paper. It was one of many things I wrote, in response to my assignment to the group to write and/or draw anything that came to mind about the word “selfish.” Somehow, I often think of the word “shellfish” when I see “selfish” because the words are so similar. Then, I tried to continue that word association to convey a message: “good”‘selfishness can make us stronger, I believe.

      • Amazing, because all those words relate to one another. If you have time, you might be interested in reading about “dukkha”. It’s a concept that seems to takes a load off of one’s back, because one realizes that too “me” or “mine” is actually burdensome. As you say, however, it can also be beneficial in a therapeutic manner.

  12. Leturos

    I could not put my finger on it …

    I wasn’t thinking about the song you mentioned, I was thinking about Pink Floyd’s use:

    When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse Out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look but it was done I cannot put my finger on it now, The child is down; The dream is done. I have become .. comfortably numb.

    It would be interesting to hear what this means to people. I saw the writing about denial. Though I’ve never been to a session, it looked like a group therapy exercise or what I’d imagine one to be like.

    Lectio Devina can be done in a group. It often turns into a quasi therapy thing and it wasn’t that uncommon for a therapist, counselor, or “guide” to be present in the groups in which I took part. I looked at my therapist’s bio and saw that one of her specialties is Dialectical Therapy. I downloaded Katie Read’s manual that accompanies Dr. Linehan’s Instructor Video and checked it out. There are some neat things in there – I just don’t feel comfortable enough in groups to … take part in that sort of thing.

    I’m not very social. I know four seven people in the neighborhood by sight (and one two by name) and there are six other houses on this cul-de=sac alone and I can see five of them plus a another house from the back porch. I can probably see, with some trees in the way, 12 more houses from the front porch. We’ve been here for 7 1/2 years so … a neighbor a year plus the early 20’s guy who rides a big wheel around the neighborhood. I guess they are all seen out of the corner of my eye.

    No, its different for me. Over the past five years I’ve been learning to reduce the amount of attention I place on things. I learned how to focus on shape, for example. In two sessions I became able to go into grocery stores without being overwhelmed. I quit therapy. I learned how to center with the monks. One meditation, a few months in, lasted hours and I ended a 30 year period of always feeling so tense that I never was able to fully relax. Now, it’s up to me to learn how to respond to stress. I no longer have the excuse that my brain feels like it is in a frying pan. I quit hanging out with the monks. Clearing thoughts … that’s a new one. Picture all your thoughts as though they were on a white board and erase it. I’ve done it four or five times now. Each time I hesitate for a moment afterwards because I had to remember where I am. Brain calmed. It works. Difference this time, I’m going back. There’s more that sounds too strange to share.

    I’ve learned how to focus without risking hallucination or loss of time. I can see the forest or the trees, not both at the same time only and I can still do that if I want. Simple techniques but they work incredibly well. Most of the techniques were learned prior to the latest 1000/month pharmaceutical (without insurance or assistance). That too, seems to be OK but I’m working on monitoring now. If I ever stop taking medication again (I’ve taken it five or six of the past 40 years since my first visit to a doctor) I need to know when to start. One would have thought January’s 44 awake/4 asleep for 11 cycles with one of them being a 68/4 cycle would have been clue enough. No, it took three weeks at an average of an hour a day slept at my desk after months of sleeping less and less for “someone else” to put their foot down. By that point, I was barely able to type.

    And that’s when I started my blogs here.

  13. Pingback: Day 944: Putting down weights | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Love this and your groups are so lucky to have you in their corner!

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