Monthly Archives: September 2015

Day 993: Equal Time

Some time ago, I made up a remedy for unhelpful thoughts, called the Equal Time Rule.

If you have time for the equal time rule today, here it is:

The Equal Time Rule. To be fair, why not balance out the time spent on negative thoughts with positive thoughts? For example, if you spend a certain amount of time worrying or catastrophizing about something that then turns out okay, consider spending that much time feeling good about the outcome. Or, if you are focusing on a negative, critical person and worrying about how they might affect you, try to give equal time and power to a positive, supportive person.

Last night, at my 45th high school reunion, I gave equal time to:

  • talking to supportive people,
  • going out on a boat in the harbor near the reunion site,
  • eating yummy food, and
  • singing and dancing to old familiar songs.

It took me equal amounts of time to snap each one of these equal photos —  before, during and after the reunion:

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According to my equal time rule, people should give equal time to feeling good, after a  concerning situation turns out well.  Because I like to give equal time to giving advice AND to listening to my own advice, I shall now use the equal time rule to:

  1. spend a full six months feeling good about how well the reunion turned out AND
  2. spend a full friggin’ TEN MONTHS feeling good about how healthy I am, because I danced as long as anybody else did at that reunion last night.

I shall now give equal time to a song I sang last night at the reunion (which I did not sing equal in quality as I did in this YouTube video, when I sang the same song six months ago):

However, somebody at the reunion last night gave me a LOT of equal and supportive time telling me how great I sounded, singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

I hope you give equal time today to taking good care of yourself and interacting with supportive people.

Equal-time thanks to everybody who helped me create this timely post and to you — of course! — for spending equal time reading and (I hope!) commenting.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 992: Wait People

Rather than use the words “waitress” and “waiter” these days, I often use the term “wait people.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to tell you why. I tend to avoid gender specific labels, like waitress.

If you want more examples of that, you don’t have long to wait, people.  Instead of saying “Chairmen,” I’ll say “Chair People.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to show you two pictures I took last night, which “Chair People” is now bringing to mind:

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Chairs AND people, right?

My posts are like the New England weather. If you want them to change, just wait, people. And you don’t need to wait, people, for some more photos from yesterday.

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That’s the first photo I took yesterday, after some people waited to see me for therapy. I saw that at the hospital gift shop, where there’s often a short wait, people. If you want me to explain exactly what a “Littlest Red Sox Fan Den” is, you’ve got a long time to wait, people.

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People I work with in therapy sometimes wait, people, before letting go of unhelpful, critical, and judgmental things other people have said about them — like “She is taking up too much space.” Yesterday, people waited no more and let go of some of those internalized, toxic messages. Why wait, people?

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Wait, people!  I usually don’t swear in these posts, but that was a helpful phrase for a person I waited for in therapy, yesterday.

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Good health care is not something people should wait for, people.

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Those waiting for fall around here don’t have too much longer to wait, people.

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It’s been a long wait, people, since I last posted about the faces there are in pansies, if people wait long enough to see them.

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Bostonians need to wait, people, for reasonably priced parking for events. If you ask me what event people were waiting for at Fenway Park last night, you have a long time to wait, people. But wait, people!  Our friendly fellow-blogger Mark Bialczak might look that up and tell us, after a short wait.

Speaking of reasonably priced parking, last night I found a free parking space in Harvard Square without a wait, people!  I went to Harvard Square to see this new musical.

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I won’t make you wait, people, for a great song from the wonderful Waitress.

While I was waiting for the play to start, I revisited a lot of places where I used to wait, people, when I was in college and (afterwards, too).

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I used to wait, people, in those three locations to

  1.  have meals with friends,
  2. see Jackie Chan movies and
  3. take several adult education classes, including percussion, jazz theory, cartooning, and “Stand Up Comedy” with Ron Lynch (and if you can’t wait, people, to read more posts about Ron Lynch, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

I rarely wait, people, to get chocolate or to connect with sweet people.

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That’s Lina. She was kind enough, as she waiting on me, to tell me she took the job at L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square because “I like the way people talk about chocolate here.” As I was waiting for her to ring up my purchases, I took this photo:

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and said to Lina, “I’m always taking photos for my blog.”  Lina didn’t wait to say this, “That’s the way art works.”

I didn’t wait, people, to eat the chocolate Lina sold me …

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… while I was waiting for Waitress to begin.

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After I saw Waitress, I couldn’t wait, people, to see my boyfriend Michael, who was waiting for me in Harvard Square after helping his brother wait on people for five long days. While I was waiting for Michael last night, I took pictures of places we waited and where wait people had waited on us on our first date, five years ago:

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Wait, people!  There’s one more thing I want to say, before I publish this Wait People post.

Tonight, after five months of planning and 45 years of some people waiting to see each other, I’m going to my high school reunion.

No more wait, people!

I won’t wait, people, to thank all those people who made this post possible. And special thanks to you — of course! — for waiting, people, for the end of this post.

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

Day 991: Don’t fret

I don’t fret about this: I’ve written lots of blog posts about worry (here, here, here, and here) but not one post with the word “fret” in the title.

Why the fret, today?

As an individual and group therapist, I witness many people fretting about  fretful things. Yesterday was no different.

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It’s difficult not to fret, sometimes.

I, myself, was fretting yesterday about planning my 45th high school reunion, which involves many fretful details. Around midnight last night, I awoke from a fretful sleep to find a reassuring email from one of the other reunion planners, which said (among other things):

Don’t fret.

I’m going to take that advice.  Are there other fretting people out there who care to join me in obeying my high school classmate’s advice, at least for today?

I pledge not to fret, today, about:

  • my high school reunion,
  •  people,
  • the state of the world,
  • the weather,
  • the past, or
  • the future.

Don’t fret if you can’t join me in this No Fret Day. But wouldn’t it be great if you could?

Because I have just declared today a No Fret Day, I won’t fret about including a song that

  • wakes me up in the morning,
  • has appeared in previous posts, and
  • doesn’t have the word “fret” in it:

That’s Los Lobos singing “Don’t Worry Baby” at the Crossroads Guitar Festival which, I’m sure, included lots of frets.

Should we fret about any of these  photos, presented fretlessly in chronological order?

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If those cats appear fretful, it’s probably because my fretless boyfriend Michael has been away all week. Don’t fret, Oscar and Harley!  Michael will be back, very soon.

Fretless thanks to those who fret and those who don’t,  including you, of course!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

Day 990: How to change minds

That’s an important topic, isn’t it?  How to change minds.  I’m certain that — at this very moment —  advertisers, politicians, and many others are trying their best to figure out how to change minds.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, we changed our minds several times about which activity to choose, based on the issues people brought into the group room and the resulting 45-minute group discussion.

I had some trouble deciding whether to choose the mind-changing group activity of:

  1. Creating a t-shirt with an important, personal slogan or
  2. Answering the question that somebody in the group had raised: “What does it take to change people’s minds?”

Because I change my mind many times before making decisions, I decided to combine both of those mind-changing activities, as you can see:

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Before you change your mind about me, I want to explain that ‘Killing It” is an idiom — in these changing times —  for having a passionate commitment (about changing things or about anything else). My changing mind is also noticing, here and now,  that I included “songs” twice as I was designing my personal mind-changing t-shirt. Do you agree with me that songs and music are particularly important for changing people’s minds?

Here‘s a song about changing minds:

Do coincidences change people’s minds?  I’m noticing that the last word on my t-shirt and the first word in that “The Times They Are a-Changin’” video have no changes at all. That is, my t-shirt ends and that Bob Dylan video starts with  the same mind-changing word — “Quest.”

In my quest to change minds in a helpful way at work and elsewhere, I sometimes use words and I sometimes use images.  Here are some mind-changing images from yesterday, when  I considered (among other things):

  1. changing the number of rooms where I offer group therapy and
  2. how teachers at my son’s high school change minds, every day.

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Did any of those photos (or anything else in this post) change your mind about anything that’s important to you?

If you express your mind in a comment below, you may change minds, too.

Mind-changing thanks to Bob Dylan, to my son’s teachers, to every person, place and thing I encountered yesterday that changed my mind, and to you — of course! — for your beautifully changing mind, today.

Categories: group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 37 Comments

989: Expansion

I’ve been noticing many different types of expansion lately, including:

  • the expansion of tasks and obligations to fill every available moment, unless I consciously and continually reserve time for self-care,
  • building and construction expansions near where I work in Boston,
  • the expansion of the number of classmates attending my high school reunion this coming Saturday,
  • the expansion of hope for people who feel supported by others in therapy,
  • the possible expansion of my group therapy practice to include people who do not have doctors at the Boston teaching hospital where I work, and
  • this great tune by Pat Metheny, which expanded three times yesterday through my earphones during my expansive walks to and from work:

When I saw Pat Metheny appear on stage alone playing “Expansion” — surrounded by the expansion of all those incredible new instruments in his Orchestrion  — that expanded my mind, my heart, and my soul.  If you’d like any expansion of your knowledge and understanding about Pet Metheny’s  Orchestrion, I’ve expansively included  this link.

Today, I’m facing the expansion of all these tasks and obligations:

  1. Individual therapy where I work,
  2. Group therapy where I work,
  3. Checking out office space, as I possibly expand my therapy practice,
  4. Meeting all of my son’s new teachers (who I hope will be contributing to the expansion of his fine mind and understanding of the world around us), and
  5. A board meeting of the Northeast Society of Group Psychotherapy, an organization which contributes to the expansion of group therapy practice around here.

I think every photo I took yesterday, while I was listening to “Expansion,” relates to the title of today’s post.

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If you were going to choose one of those images to represent “Expansion,” which one would it be?

If you have any thoughts or feelings about the expansions expanding in this post, I hope you expansively leave a comment in the expanse below.

An expansion of gratitude to Pat Metheny; to people who explore the expansion of hopes and options in individual and group therapy; to  teachers everywhere who contribute to the expansion of young minds; to every person, place, organization, animal, and thing that expands my universe; and to you — of course!  — for the expanse of time you spent here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 988: What does it all mean?

Every once in a while, I think

What does it all mean?

What does it all mean, when I think that?

Well, it might mean that I’m confronting:

  • change,
  • hope,
  • confusion,
  • concern,
  • the unexpected,
  • disappointment,
  • spirituality,
  • risks,
  • mortality,
  • all sorts of feelings, or
  • the unknown, in myself and in others.

Do you ever think (or even say out loud)

What does it all mean?

What does it mean when you do that?

Yesterday, as I and other people were wondering

What does it all mean?

… I took these photos:

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What do all those photos mean to you, dear readers?

The word “mean” reminds me, right now, about something that happened yesterday at work.  I and somebody else googled this bumper sticker:

Mean people suck.

What does it all mean, that we did that?  Because of confidentiality, I cannot tell you. However, I will tell you that the bumper stickers we found all cost less than 5 dollars.

What does it all mean that I include YouTube videos in these posts?

That‘s Emily Levine trying to explain  “What Does it All Mean?”  at a Ted Talk in 2014.

What will it all mean, to me, if you leave a comment?

A lot.

Meaningful thanks to Emily Levine, to all the people and cats who helped me create this post, and to you — of course! — for whatever meaning you make of this, today.

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

Day 987: Sweet Babies

This is the first photo I took yesterday, on Sunday morning:

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Soon after that, I saw lots of sweet things, some of which I call “Baby.”

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That last sweet picture is of my sweet baby, Aaron, whom I picked up yesterday at his father’s house. Even though Aaron is 17 year old, he sweetly says he doesn’t mind when I sweetly call him “Baby.”

Aaron and I — along with our wonderful and sweet relatives Deborah, Laura, and Victoria — had tickets yesterday to see Anthony Rapp from the sweet musical “Rent” performing “Without You” in Wellesley, a suburb of Boston USA where, I’m sure, there are several sweet babies. Here are some sweet babies I photographed at Deborah’s sweet home in Arlington, Massachusetts, before that sweet performance:

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That sweet cat sculpture was created by Aaron’s father and my ex-husband Leon, before we had our sweet baby. Leon also built this sweet chimney at his current home:

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Some people are sweetly talented.

Before we saw “Without You” at the Babson College Sorenson Theater, Aaron and Deborah munched on these sweet babies:

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Those are pumpkin munchkins, for my sweet readers who are unfamiliar with sweet Dunkin’ Donuts, which has been around in Boston since many of us here have been sweet babies.

Here’s the sweet set of “Without You”:

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As you can see, the musicians backing up Anthony Rapp included a sweet guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist. There was also a sweet drummer and a sweet cello player.

I didn’t take any photos during Anthony Rapp’s amazing and moving  reminiscings about two important deaths — his mother’s and Jonathan Larson’s (the creator of Rent) — as well as his experiences auditioning and performing as a lead in that breakthrough musical.  I could have captured a lot of sweetly authentic and exhilarating moments yesterday, but — from the time I was a sweet baby —  I’ve always been sweetly obedient to instructions like “No photographs during the performance.”  I will sweetly report to you now that Anthony Rapp sang his sweet heart out,  performing songs from Rent as well as wonderful songs he and other sweetly talented people composed for “Without You.” During the performance, a sweet baby in the audience was crying, but somebody sweetly took the baby out of the theater, after Anthony Rapp sweetly and very appropriately requested that.

After the performance, my sweet baby Aaron spotted one of the cast members who had been in the incredibly sweet and excellent performance of Rent we saw last month at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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Joseph Spinelli sweetly allowed me to take those sweet photos of him. He also expressed sweet interest in my sweet baby Aaron’s stand-up comedy performances. Joseph was with a sweet older woman whom he resembled. I think he might have been her sweet baby, but I wasn’t sweet enough to check that out.

Here’s Anthony Rapp, who sweetly spoke to every person in the audience who stayed after “Without You” to meet him.

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Anthony sweetly told me he remembered talking to me in Edinburgh, when I was crying sweet tears because I was so sweetly moved by the production of Rent we both attended last month. Joseph Spinelli sweetly told us that Anthony Rapp was artistic director of that production, which we didn’t know until yesterday.  All I can say is that Anthony Rapp is sweetly talented in so many ways, and also a very sweet guy.

When my sweet baby Aaron and I got home last night, we saw my sweet boyfriend (whom I also call “Baby,” sweetly enough) for five sweet minutes, before Michael had to leave for five days, to sweetly help out his sweet brother Martin with Martin’s sweet catering business. Boy, am I going to miss that sweet Michael, until he returns on sweet Friday.

Here are my last sweet thoughts for this Sweet Babies post:

Yesterday morning, I thought the sweet song for today would be “Sweet Baby James” by the sweetly singing James Taylor.

I also want to sweetly include “Without You” from Rent, which Anthony Rapp sang so sweetly and powerfully yesterday.

Sweet thanks to all my sweet babies, to Anthony Rapp, to Joseph Spinelli, to James Taylor, to all those who have inspired and helped us live our sweet lives since we were sweet babies, and to you — of course! — for bringing your sweet self here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 986: Reminiscing

Maybe it’s because I’m planning and attending a high school reunion next week.

Maybe it’s because of the time of the year.

Maybe it’s because my participation in different kinds of therapy often focuses on people’s pasts.

Whatever the reasons, I am reminiscing, big time.

Reminiscing can

  • help us move on,
  • keep us stuck in the past,
  • connect us with other people,
  • bring up memories we haven’t accessed for years,
  • cause all sorts of feelings (including joy, regret, anger, and contentment), and
  • be healing, at times.

Next week, there’ll be lots of reminiscing with my classmates from my hometown.  I’m thinking of questions to invite some reminiscing, such as:

  • What’s a favorite memory from school?
  • What’s an important lesson you’ve learned in life?
  • What’s something you’re grateful for?

I wonder how I’ll be reminiscing about that reunion when it’s over, on September 20th.

As you reminisce about that moment when you first read the title of today’s post, did you reminisce about this song?

I’m reminiscing, now,  about how I used to listen to that Little River Band song in the 1970s.

I’m also reminiscing about some photos I took yesterday.

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This photo …

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… might cause regular, reminiscing readers to reminisce about Day 978: Loopy.

One more moment of reminiscing.  Last month, in Edinburgh Scotland, I met Anthony Rapp from the musical Rent.

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Today, my son Aaron and my excellent relatives Deborah, Laura, and Victoria are accompanying me to see Anthony Rapp in a one-man show, where he’ll be reminiscing about his experiences in Rent.

What are you reminiscing about, now?

Reminiscing thanks to Oscar and other cats, to the Little River Band, to all those I love to reminisce with, to Anthony Rapp, to Play Time in Arlington, Massachusetts, USA (which is reminiscent of other great arts and crafts stores I’ve seen), to wonderful homes everywhere, and to you — of course! — for reminiscing with me here, today.

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

Day 985: Worry about Worry

Do you ever worry about worry?

If you do worry about worry, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. If you don’t worry about worry, don’t worry about that, either. Let me worry about explaining worry about worry to you, now.

Actually, I’m not worried about explaining worry about worry,  since so many worried people worry about that in therapy sessions, every day.

Worry about worry can include:

  1. worrying that worry is going to have a negative effect on your health or the health of others and
  2. worrying that you’re not worrying enough about something that would usually worry you.

I’m not going to worry about having only two examples of worry about worry here, but I will add that worry about worry is similar to:

  • stress about stress,
  • guilt about how much guilt you feel,
  • shame about your level of shame,
  • anger about anger, and
  • fear about fear.

All of those feelings about feelings can grow upon grow, expanding way beyond your initial reaction.

Should we worry about that?

Let’s not.

Instead, should we worry about the fact that — after months of my worrying about transporting my iPhone photos over to my laptop and therefore worrying each and every word of these posts on my iPhone keyboard — I’m not worrying about that, this morning?

If you’re worried about that last worried paragraph, here’s what I mean about what I meant there:

I’m back on my laptop, today,  writing this worried post.

Worried about whether I’ll be able to worry recent photos from my unworried iPhone into this Worry-about-Worry post?

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No worries.

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Let’s be jovial about Jovial, instead!

I’m not going to worry about inserting any music into this post. Would anybody like to worry some music about worry into a comment, below?

Unworried thanks to ME for figuring out how to transport photos quickly and painlessly between my iPhone and my laptop, again, and special thanks to you — of course! — for not worrying about worry, as best you can.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

Day 984: Tears are welcome

There are several ways I communicate to people in therapy that their tears are welcome:

  •  I make sure there are boxes of tissues within reach.
  • I say “All your feelings are welcome here.”
  • I explain the science that supports the thesis that tears are good for you (and better than bottling sadness up inside).

I think this acceptance of tears gets through. Every week, in individual and group therapy, I see people crying in the presence of others. To me, they seem to heal with each tear that’s shed, witnessed, and supported.

Yesterday, I shed tears — and felt healed — when I listened to songs about our shared mortality, from Sting’s The Last Ship:

Here are some photos from yesterday, which I hope are healing:

This post is dedicated to all those who have shed tears on September 11 (or any other day of the year). May you continue to heal, in peace.

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

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