Day 1039: Obligations

This month of November, I’ve committed to posting every day.  This does not feel like an onerous obligation to me, since I’ve chosen to post once a day since January 1, 2013.

I’ve determined that daily posting is not an obligation to anybody else,  but rather a personal commitment to growth and healing.

Obligations feel a lot different than choices, don’t they?

Yesterday, my therapy group decided  to discuss the topic of “obligations.”  Here’s something Olivia, the social work intern, shared with the group participants:


Since I told Olivia I was going to include her drawing in today’s blog, I’ve now fulfilled that obligation.  I also choose to explain that Olivia did a great job, yesterday, describing how hidden and unclear obligations make it more challenging to be obliging.

It’s not my obligation to share with you what I shared with the group yesterday, but I am choosing to show you this:


What are your thoughts and feelings about obligations?

I wonder who will feel obligated to respond if I ask which of these photos best represents the word “obligations”?

IMG_6514 IMG_6515 IMG_6518 IMG_6522 IMG_6526 IMG_6527IMG_6528 IMG_6529 IMG_6530IMG_6531

IMG_6532IMG_6533 IMG_6534 IMG_6535  IMG_6536

IMG_6537 IMG_6538  IMG_6540IMG_6541 IMG_6542  IMG_6543

IMG_6544 IMG_6545 IMG_6546

I feel obligated to tell you that this photo best represents obligations, for me …


… because it says “WASH ME.”

This photo


… could also represent new and daunting obligations to me, since those are the keys to my office, in Newton, Massachusetts.  From now on, for one year, I have an obligation to pay rent for that space. However, providing group therapy in any location feels more like a privilege, to me,  than an obligation.

Do I have an obligation to my readers to include music in this post? Do you have an obligation to listen?

I hope you know you’re not obligated to listen to all of Antonio Vivaldi‘s Early Concertos for “Violincello Obligato.”

Obligatory AND sincere thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and special thanks to you — of course! — no  matter what your obligations are, today.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “Day 1039: Obligations

  1. amy eden

    Congrats on your new office and welcome to newton. Let me know where your office is and what you will be offering- I’ll pass the information along.

  2. Because I saw you tweeted, I felt obliged to read 🙂

  3. Hi Ann, I have missed you. I am very happy to hear about your new office. That is very exciting!!!! I would come visit you, and see your new digs if I didn’t live so far away. I apologize for not having been present, I am in the midst of trying to keep up with my word count for NaNoWriMo. I am already behind, but hope to catch up in a writing marathon this weekend. I did not feel obligated to come visit, but wanted to, just to let you know I am still here, but just in the shadows, writing away furiously.
    Have a lovely day, in your new space!!!!!!!

  4. The pictures of Harley and Oscar were what made me think most strongly of obligations because when we adopt a pet I feel we’re obligated to care for him or her, to provide a safe and happy home. And then I realized that I couldn’t remember Harley’s name and felt obligated to go back and look through some of your old posts. I may not have felt, strictly speaking, an obligation but rather a compulsion to be both courteous in referring to Harley by name and to have that information for future reference.
    Absorbing information is not something I feel obligated to do but something I feel compelled to do.
    Also it’s a pleasant change to hear something by Vivaldi that’s not “Spring” which, although lovely, has been overplayed. It was twenty-five years ago that Peter Schickele complained of having to hear Vivaldi “one more time” in his “Classical Rap”. And now I feel compelled to make this even longer by including that.

  5. Much obliged for this post and the Vivaldi! Congrats in the new office Ann!

  6. That is lovely sunshine. Also, Olivia is such a lovely name.

  7. Ann,
    Regarding your most valuable comment, that: “you feel that your group therapy sessions, which you facilitate, have become more a privilege than an obligation.”
    Unless that transformation takes place, the improved quality of life that is sought for one’s client will fall short of its mark.

  8. Congratulations on your new space. May wonderful things happen there.

  9. Congrats Ann, I’m much obliged! How can someone attend your groups, what requisites are there?

  10. Oscar and Harley are two hunks! I’m much obliged to Ann for letting me see them!

  11. I choose the same picture as you, but because it tells drivers to keep their distance

  12. It’s never an obligation to read your work, Ann. ❤️

  13. Interesting post! I do spend a lot of my life feeling under a variety of obligations and fearing that I am failing to fulfil them. I am learning, slowly, to reduce this sense, so, for instance (as you may have noticed) I no longer feel I have to visit and comment own on every blog by all the bloggers I follow. I drop in when I can and comment if I get a moment.

    • I am obliged to tell you, Hilary, I am glad you’re working on reducing your sense of obligation. And I am very happy to see you whenever you obligingly drop in.

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