Monthly Archives: January 2016

Day 1116: What is the theme of this post?

Almost exactly 600 days ago (but who’s counting?), I wrote a blog post with the same title as this one.  Perhaps because of the blog post I wrote yesterday, it’s easy for me to let go of embarrassment about re-using the same title. Also, I’m glad  I’m following my own advice from Day 801: How to ask for what you need by asking for what I need now — help in identifying the theme of this post.

So how can you help me identify the theme of this post?

Well, maybe we can use the process I use in the therapy groups I facilitate, in order to identify a theme.  In those groups, I also ask for help from the group members to identify an important theme that’s come up in the group discussion, so we can all explore that theme in further depth.  For example, in yesterday’s group,  I wrote themes up on the group room whiteboard  as the participants were sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experience. These themes included exhaustion, tasks, motivation, anxiety, stress,  triggers, self care and many more, as you can see in this portion of yesterday’s whiteboard:

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Yesterday, the theme we chose together was “Energy”:

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Could “Energy” also be the theme of this post?

Let’s examine all the other photos I took yesterday, to see if there’s another possible theme we can identify for today’s post:

 

 

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If you can identify a theme for this post, please share it below, in a comment.

Many thanks to all those who heal in groups, to Amanda Curtin (a wonderfully talented group therapist whose office I visited yesterday), to PetSmart, to  Whole Foods, and to all the people, places and themes that helped me create this post. Special thanks to you — of course!  — for whatever you bring here, today.

Categories: blogging, group psychotherapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 31 Comments

Day 1115: How to let go of embarrassment

Is there any thing you’re embarrassed about, right now?  If so, let’s figure out

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What do you know  about letting go of embarrassment, based on your past experience and your own wisdom?  If you can’t think of anything, please don’t be embarrassed.  When somebody unexpectedly puts me on the spot and asks for answers, I’m embarrassed about how long it can take me to think of something useful.

I’m also embarrassed that I can’t remember everything people came up with, yesterday in my office, when we were brainstorming about how to let go of embarrassment.  I do remember the list included:

  • acknowledge what’s embarrassing you,
  • recognize how the embarrassment is affecting your thoughts, feelings, and actions,
  • figure out who originally gave you the idea you should be embarrassed in this situation,
  • challenge that assumption,
  • share your thoughts and feelings with somebody you trust,
  • recognize that other people get embarrassed,
  • let go of the embarrassment as quickly as possible, and …

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Because I’m a little embarrassed about my handwriting, I’ll point out that #9 says “Treat yourself kindly.”

As usual, I have an embarrassment of riches, photographically, that I’d like to share with you today:

 

Which of those images are most embarrassing to you?  How might you begin to let go of that embarrassment?

It’s embarrassing how easy it is for me to ask for comments for my daily blog posts.  Please don’t be embarrassed to leave one, below.

This might be embarrassing, but I’m not going to thank anybody for their help in creating today’s blog.  I’d definitely be embarrassed, however, if I didn’t thank you — of course! — for reading it.

 

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

Day 1114: I do scary

I ventured out into some scary cold and icy weather yesterday to meet up with my friend, Barbara, whom I’ve known almost all of my scary life.

As Barbara and I enjoyed the scary-good atmosphere and food at The Madrona Tree Restaurant in Arlington, Massachusetts, we talked about my trying out for the TV show “The Voice” next month and how scary that might be.

My 62-year-old memory can be scary some times, but I’ll do my best to report accurately the next few  exchanges between Barbara and me:

Me:  That’s me.  I do scary.

Barbara:  I hope it’s okay that I say this..  You do scary because scary was done to you.

Me : (pause that might have seemed scary to Barbara, but probably not, because we’ve known each other for so long)

Barbara:  I mean because of your scary hospital experiences when you were young.

Me:  I get it.  You’re right.  I’m just thinking of how to say that in my own words.

Barbara (non-scary pause)

Me:  I do scary because I’m scared all the time. Because life is scary.

Barbara: I understand.

 

It’s scary how I can’t remember whether Barbara said “I understand” or whether she just let me know she understood.

I don’t know about you, but when I feel understood, everything seems less scary.

Is this post scary?  Since I do scary so well (because I have so much practice), allow me to address any scary thoughts that might be scared up by this “I Do Scary” post, as follows:

 

“I do scary” means I’m used to living with fear, which helps me face my fears, every day.

After our scary-great lunch and talk yesterday, Barbara and I braved the scary cold to visit my new office in Newton, Massachusetts. Because I do scary, I’m opening up that new office without a target date  of when I’ll be doing my first therapy group there.  Because I do scary, I have faith that everything will work out.

I did scary photography yesterday:

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Which of those photos do you think is the best match for this “I Do Scary” post?

Because I do scary-quick blogging on weekday mornings, it’s time for scary brief thanks  to Barbara, the Madrona Tree, and everybody else who helped me create this scary post. Special thanks to you — of course! — for doing scary, as best you can.

 

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

Day 1113: A-void

Every morning, I do not avoid facing a void, here at WordPress, of an empty blog post — a void  I need to fill, daily,  with words, images, and (sometimes) YouTube videos.

There are certain tasks and obligations I do wish I could avoid. For example, I always want to avoid doing my yearly taxes. And when I was young, I avoided practicing scales on the piano (although I never avoided playing my favorite music).

Perhaps I do not wish to avoid daily blogging  because  blogging …

  1. still feels like a choice — rather than a task or obligation —  after more than three years and
  2. fills some sort of void for me.

Last night, my boyfriend Michael and I did not avoid seeing a movie about the existential human void of loneliness: Anomalisa, “a stop-motion adult animated romantic comedy-drama” written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman.  We have not avoided previous Charlie Kaufman movies, like Being John Malkovich and  Eternal Sunshine  of the Spotless Mindand I’m glad we did not avoid Anomalisa.

Because I  avoid taking photos while watching a movie, there is a conspicuous void of Anomalisa –  related images in today’s post. However, I did not avoid taking these other pictures yesterday, which I shall now use to fill the photographic void:

 

Which of those images would you rather avoid?  Which best illustrates a void to you?

I need to fill a void, now, by telling you that if any of those photos are too small to read, you can avoid eyestrain by clicking on it.

While human beings may sometimes avoid endings, all things must come to an end, including this “A-void” post.  Before it does,  I do not want to avoid honoring a human being whose death left a huge void, in 1968.

Here‘s  Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech:

And to further fill the void, here are some quotes from him:

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”

The time is always right to do what is right.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the the whole staircase.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

If you wish, please fill the void below this post with a comment.  And thanks to all for visiting here, today.

 

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

Day 1112: Emergent Complexity

Yesterday, I met my friend Peggy at the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

The deCordova — with its amazing sculpture park, gift shop, and creative exhibits — has been a favorite destination for me and my 17-year-old son Aaron for years. The original plan was for Peggy and I to meet at the museum’s gift shop at 11 AM, but when Peggy  called me from her home in Worcester, at 10:20, to tell me she’d be a little late, she wondered  whether we should meet somewhere else instead, because the winter weather  would definitely interfere with our visiting the deCordova’s beloved sculpture park. However,  I just said no to a different meeting place, since I thought the deCordova’s gift shop and the main building would still be a great place to spend time, especially since my main goal was to hang out with her.

Is there any emergent complexity in this post, so far?

In order to judge whether complexity is emerging here, you probably need a definition of “emergent complexity.”  However, all the definitions of that, emerging online, have too much complexity for me.  For example, I found an  article — “Emergent Complexity : The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics?” —  where the very title seems questioning and unsure.

 Here‘s the least complex definition emerging online, in the emergent moment:

An emergent behavior or emergent property can appear when a number of simple entities (agents) operate in an environment, forming more complex behaviors as a collective. If emergence happens over disparate size scales, then the reason is usually a causal relation across different scales.
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To help with the emergent complexity in this already complex post, I’ll explain that the term “Emergent Complexity” was used yesterday by  Marty, an incredibly helpful and charming staff person at the deCordova gift shop.

Here’s Marty:

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Marty used the term “emergent complexity” when he, Peggy, and I all had different visual associations with this pair of earrings:

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… which reminded Marty of jellyfish, Peggy of flowers, and me of flying saucers.

I wonder what emergent complexity in each of our personalities those different associations reveal?

There was SO MUCH fabulous emergent complexity to be discovered yesterday at the deCordova gift shop, thanks to Jane …

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… who has been emerging at the deCordova  gift shop as a terrific buyer for many years.

Here’s some emergent, complex photographic proof of Jane’s incredible buying skills:

 

What do you think of the complexity emerging there, at the deCordova gift shop?

If the emergent complexity of any photo montage here is too complex to read, clearer and larger photos should emerge, if you click on them.

If you need more emergent complexity from yesterday, there’s more!

What best represents “Emergent Complexity” to you?

Before the ending emerges from the complexity of this post, here are more associations, from complex me,  about “Emergent Complexity”:

  • Sometimes, the complexity of thoughts emerging from our minds can interfere with our choosing helpful actions.
  • As I’m preparing for my try-out for “The Voice” next month, I can get tied up in the complexity of my thoughts and feelings about that, which might get in the way of my enjoying the experience.
  • The human mind’s complexities — with tendencies to go into the future with  fear of the unknown and into the past with regret about what cannot be changed — often interfere with the emergent riches of the current moment.

I look forward to the complexity of comments emerging from this post.

Emergently complex thanks to Peggy, Marty, Jane, the deCordova, and every other person, place, and thing contributing to the complexity of today’s post.  Special thanks to you — of course! — for all your complexity, emerging here and now.

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

Day 1111: Ones

If one takes one moment and  one looks at the numbers in today’s title, what does one see?  Ones.

How one-derful!

Here’s one photo on my one iPhone:

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My one thought when I saw that, yesterday:

It’s one shoe.  Is someone  waiting for the other shoe to drop?

One thing I hope one writer of this blog has learned  after one one one one days of blogging:

There is no other shoe, so spend not one moment  worrying about one’s future. Worry is one especially useless way to spend one’s time.

Here’s more than one thought about ones, on this 1111st day of this one blog:

  1. I have one son.
  2. Last night I had one dream that my one son was gone.
  3. I one-der if I had that one dream because my one son will be attending one college (TBD) in less than one year.
  4. One needs to look out for number one, because what number of people will do that if you don’t?
  5. One needs some al-one time, once in a while, to keep oneself together.
  6. People need people, and yet one thing I witness as a psychotherapist — one day after another —  is everyone’s difficulty asking for help and support from even one other person.
  7. Mindfulness  —  one’s ability to be present from one precious moment to the next one — is one useful practice.
  8. One is the loneliest number according to one amazing singer/songwriter named Harry Nilsson and also (one + one + one)  Dog Night.

 

One may be the loneliest number, but the ones in my one title today aren’t lonely — they have each other!

Which one of these other photos on my one iPhone best represent ones?

1111 thanks for every-one’s support through 1111 days of blogging. One never knows how many more days one will have, besides this one precious day.

Will there be one comment from the one person reading this blog, in this one particular moment?

Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Day 1110: Life as a work of art

If somebody asked you to write, draw, or otherwise express your thoughts, feelings, and associations about “Life as a work of art,”  what work of art might you create?

Last night, in a therapy group — after we discussed many  topics including life, death, school, work, parents, what other people think, music, painting,  injury, healing, routines, miracles, safety, self-care, imperfection, immortality, wishes, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie —  I asked people to do just that.

Now, I shall attempt to turn my thoughts, feeling, associations, and other aspects of my life into a blogging work of art. Here are some artless and artful photos I took at work,  yesterday:

How do you judge or create works of art?

Yes, thou art being asked to work your responses into a comment, bringing more life and art into this post.

Lifetime-work-in-progress thanks to all who helped me create today’s work of art and special thanks to you — of course! — for the living art you practice, every day.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 1109: Everything is beautiful in its own way

Yesterday, when some things were beautiful and other things were not, this sign was in my way:

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… which triggered a 1982 memory I have of Boston stand-up comic Lenny Clarke.

My ex-husband and I had gone to see E.T. the Extra-terrestrial at a local cineplex.  While we were waiting to be let into the theater, I noticed Lenny Clarke — whom we’d seen at many local comedy clubs —  in the large crowd. The wait dragged on for a loooong time, with management giving us updates about problems with the projector.  Just as the mood threatened to turn ugly, Lenny Clarke yelled, “Okay, everybody!” and sang out “EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL  IN ITS OWN WAY ”

If you’re not familiar with that song by Ray Stevens, here it is:

Do you think that song is beautiful in its own way?  Do you think any of the other photos I took yesterday are beautiful in their own way?

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Everything is beautiful in its own way, especially if we

  1. accept the beauty within ourselves and
  2.  get out of our own way.

Okay, everybody! Everything is beautiful in its own way!

Beautiful thanks to all (and feel free to sing along).

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 55 Comments

Day 1108: Human

I’m a

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who has written over a thousand blog posts about being

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Right now, I’m going to check how many times I’ve used the word

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over the last three years in a blog post title.

I am having some very

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reactions and feelings, because this is the first time “human” has made it to a post title. I would have sworn that I’d written a post titled “We’re Human Beings, Not Human Doings. ”

Well, there’s  no time like the present to write a human post.

 

I’m now wondering what the word

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means to you.  If  you had to choose three words to define

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what would they be?

The first three words that occur to me are

imperfect

complicated

mortal

Are those good enough synonyms for the word

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in your mind? Do those three words capture, at all,  what makes us human?

I’m guessing that my readers will do a much better job picking three “human” words. After all, I’m only human.

Do any of the other pictures I quickly snapped yesterday help us define “human”?

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It’s only human that I’m curious about what you think, feel, and choose to express.

Human thanks to all the humans who helped me create this all-too-human post and to you — of course! — for bringing your humanity here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 1107: Just say no

If you’re uncomfortable

just say no.

If it’s not working for you

just say no.

If something offends you

just say no.

If you don’t want to do something

just say no.

If you think it’s better for you

just say no.

If somebody is pressuring you

just say no.

If it doesn’t feel right

just say no.

If you choose not to share something

just say no.

If a behavior doesn’t fit your values

just say no.

If you’re thinking “no” and everybody else is saying “yes”

just say no.

If you don’t want to explain

just say no.

If you’re overwhelmed

just say no.

If you feel manipulated

just say no.

If it’s good for your health

just say no.

If you need to set a boundary

just say no.

If something seems toxic

just say no.

If you need to sit one out

just say no.

If you’re asked to hide your true self

just say no.

If you’ve been told “no” is impolite

just say no.

If something hurts

just say no.

If you can’t deal with the consequences

just say no.

If you need to take a break

just say no.

If you sense danger

just say no.

If you’re asked whether you have the right to just say no

just say yes.

Should I share some photos I took yesterday?

You may just say no,  but I just can’t hear you!

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Feel free to say no to anything in this post.  Or not.

Also, if you need some time or don’t know what to say, you can just say nothing.

I’m just saying no, now, to an extended ending with “Thanks for reading!”

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

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