Monthly Archives: April 2016

Day 1206: What is your style?

My style is to notice what’s going on around me, and I notice that “style” usually  refers to external appearances, including clothes people wear and how they wear them.

As a group and individual psychotherapist, I often use the word “style” about people’s internal processes, including their typical  ways of

  • communicating,
  • learning,
  • decision making, and
  • other reflections of the way they think, feel, and experience the world.

Because my blogging style includes checking to see whether I’ve explored a topic before, I’ve now discovered two other stylin’ posts, here and here.  Because I tend to prefer a modest style, I will not brag about the content of those previous posts, but rather humbly suggest that you might find some merit in them.

I think it’s helpful to recognize and own your personal style, in order to understand inevitable differences between that style and other people’s styles.  Therefore, I will attempt to list other aspects of my natural style:

  • spontaneous
  • direct
  • honest
  • inclusive
  • anxious
  • curious
  • sensitive
  • inquisitive
  • shy
  • creative
  • random
  • intuitive
  • impatient

I include “impatient” because I’m impatient and eager to move on from styling that list.

If creating lists is your natural style, what list might you create about your natural style?

I got a lot of compliments on my fashion  style as I shared 45 seconds of musical stylings during an audition for “The Voice” in Philadelphia, two months ago:

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I’m likely to show a very different style when I try, try again in another Open Audition for “The Voice” on June 18, in New York City.

Because my style is to pack a lot into every blog post, I would also like to include a story about different styles, from yesterday.

When I walk to work every morning, I pass by this stylish yellow moped:

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The more I look at that, the more I am convinced that is the very same moped I owned for several decades. Yes, it used to be my style to commute on a yellow moped during the 1970s and 1980s.   When we moved to our current  stylish residence about five years ago, I gave that moped to one of the movers, because I knew it was no longer my style to ride it.

Yesterday morning, I decided to investigate further and to find out who has been styling around Boston on my beloved yellow moped. I walked into the construction site  next to where that styling moped is parked.

Allow me to style the resulting dialog, as follows:

Me (to burly construction worker):  Hi!  I was looking for the owner of that yellow moped parked outside.

Construction worker: I doubt it’s any of my guys, but I’ll check.  HEY!  YELLOW MOPED?

Other construction worker (immediately):  Yep.  That’s mine.

Me (thrilled):  Really?

Construction worker:  NO!

As is my style, I then laughed out loud, realizing that a yellow moped does NOT fit the style of most Boston construction workers.

Here are all the stylish photos I took yesterday:

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I hope your natural style includes expressing yourself in a comment below.

Thanks to all who have their own natural styles, including you!

 

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

Day 1205: What makes a special place?

My special boyfriend, Michael, often says

It’s not the place, it’s the people.

I thought of that yesterday, when I took a little trip to Leominster, Massachusetts, to visit The North End Diner and Doyle Community Park & Center and saw this:

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Even though this was the only person I took a picture of yesterday …

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… it was still people who made each place special, including

  • the waitress who gave me free fruit and home fries when I told her it was my first time at the North End Diner and that I didn’t eat meat and
  • all the people who were friendly, along my walk at Doyle Community Park.

I chose to visit Leominster yesterday  because of special memories I have of a special person who grew up there — Alexa, whom I first met in Boston Children’s Hospital when we were kids.

Here’s an old photo of me and Alexa:

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And here’s a special photo my special son Aaron took when we spent some time with Alexa in England during my first year of blogging (as mentioned in previous posts here and here):

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When I found out that Alexa had passed away, I wished I had spent more special time with her in other special places.

Here are other special places I saw yesterday, in  Leominster Massachusetts:

When I drove back, yesterday, through Littleton,  Massachusetts, home of my special friend Rachel, I took this final photo of the day.

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What was special about that place, that I would take a photo of it?

I’m not sure, but soon after taking that special photo, I called Rachel, whom I haven’t seen in several years.  We agreed to meet in some special place, soon.

What makes a place special, for you? If you express that in a comment, that will definitely make this post more special to me.

Special thanks to all those who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

Categories: blogging, friendship, in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1204: Yipes!

Yipes!

is something people say when they’re

  • surprised,
  • scared, or
  • amazed.

Every day, I have reasons to say

Yipes!

because life can be surprising, scary, and amazing.

Yesterday, I was surprised, scared, and amazed because

  • I spent a beautiful Sunday discussing membership with other group therapists and didn’t resent being indoors,
  • several people mentioned that somebody they cared about had recently died unexpectedly, and
  • I got a lot of praise for my contributions to the success of the day.

What makes you say “Yipes!”? How about the photos I took yesterday?

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Yipes!  I didn’t know that Yipes! was an American rock band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

You can find Yipes! singing “Blink of an Eye” here on YouTube, with several Yipes!-inducing lyrics including:

Where does the time go?

Yipes! Where does the time go?  It’s time for me to end today’s post.

Yipes!  I almost forgot to thank Yipes, group therapists, and you — of course! — for visiting, here and now.

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

Day 1203: Membership

Because I’m a member of the board for an organization of group therapists,  I’ll be attending a meeting on the topic of “Membership” today.

Because I’m a member of the three-person committee planning today’s meeting, I’ll be facilitating members sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences of membership.

Because I’m a member of the blogging community, I’m sharing some thoughts, feelings, and experiences of membership here before I leave for the meeting.

Here are some quotes about membership (found here and here):

“Membership has its privileges.”  — American Express advertisement from the 1980s

“Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” — Groucho Marx

“Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child. He was once small. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in his mind, ineradicably. His triumphs will be measured against this smallness; his defeats will substantiate it.” — Erik Erikson

“If I could get my membership fee back, I’d resign from the human race.” — Fred Allen

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” —  Mia Hamm

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” —  Mark Twain

“Coming out is a means of redefining oneself, of claiming membership in a lifestyle and a social order with distinct values. Chief among these values is honesty.” — Lance Loud

“I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers

“Having cancer gave me membership in an elite club I’d rather not belong to.” — Gilda Radner

“The world of science and the world of literature have much in common. Each is an international club, helping to tie mankind together across barriers of nationality, race and language. I have been doubly lucky, being accepted as a member of both.” — Freeman Dyson

“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.” — Benjamin Franklin Fairless

“In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself.” — Albert Einstein

“What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil.” —  Norman Mailer

“You are a member of the British royal family. We are never tired, and we all love hospitals.” —  Queen Mary

Here’s my own quote about “Membership,” this morning:

How I feel about membership in any group depends on whether it’s a group I have chosen or it’s a group that has been chosen for me.

Do any of my photos from yesterday relate to today’s topic of “Membership”?

Thanks to all human and non-human members who helped me create today’s post and thanks to you — of course! — for being a member of my blogging community, here and now.

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

Day 1202: Share how you see the world

For over twelve hundred consecutive days, I’ve shared how I see the world, with the world, here on WordPress.

This has changed how I see the world, as I shall now share:

  • I have more trust in my writing ability.
  • I have more faith in other people.
  • I have more confidence that I have valuable thoughts and feelings to share.
  • I’ve learned how people all over the world see the world.
  • Everywhere I go in the world, I see things I want to share.

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Where and what in the world is that?

I’ll share that my boyfriend Michael, my son Aaron, and I saw that last night in Medford Massachusetts USA, where we thought it might be Bunny Heaven.

I’ve seen and heard Pat Metheny share his music with the world (here on YouTube):

I hope you share how you see the world, here and elsewhere.

Thanks to all who help me share how I see the world, every day.

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

Day 1201: Balls

Yesterday, in therapy, there was a lot of talk about balls, including:

You’ve had that ball for too long.

You’ve been holding that ball for over a year. It gets really heavy, doesn’t it?

You’ve got too many balls in the air at the same time.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t juggle more than three balls at the same time.

Throw that ball to somebody else.

Put the ball in somebody else’s court, as soon as possible.

Put down the ball!

Those balls weren’t actual balls. They were metaphorical balls of

  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • self-judgment,
  • responsibility, and
  • worry.

I also drew two things on my white board, yesterday, that looked like balls:

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Those  aren’t  actual balls, either. The first one is a pill somebody wanted to take, whenever necessary.  The second one is a button somebody else wanted to wear.

I could ask what associations you have with “balls,” but I don’t have the balls to do that.

It takes balls to write and share poetry, as several people did in a therapy group last night. Here’s the poem I wrote:

Absence of Pain

I always thought that if

I wrote a book

It might be called

“Absence of Pain.”

Pain is something that can

overwhelm.

It is all around us and

within us too.

But absence of pain is as

real

even if we don’t notice it.

How to describe the absence

of anything

including absence of pain?

It’s a precious thing

always there

if not in the present moment

then as a memory

of the past

or a hope for the

future.

What helps sustain it?

Color

Art

Acceptance

Self care

The serenity prayer

Nature

Allies human and non-human

Connection

Love

Absence of worry, shame, guilt, and judgment

Belief

Warmth

Food

Water

The Ocean

Rest

Peace

Synchronicity

Applause

Nourishment

Group

 

I got a round of applause for writing and reading a poem, as did everybody else in the group.

Do you see any balls in the rest of the photos I took yesterday?

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Here are some songs about balls:

 

Great balls of fire! Earlier this week, our feline ball-and-chain Oscar created a ball of confusion on my Facebook page by creating and posting this while I was away at work:

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I hope you can see that entire ballsy Facebook post from Oscar, which went on for over 50 lines of semi-colons.

I wonder what balls my readers will throw into the comment court, below?

Balls of thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for reading this ballsy blog today.

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

Day 1200: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Because I come from Boston, I recognize that

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

is the English translation of this:

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which is the title of this amazing painting by Paul Gauguin

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which has been in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for as long as I can remember.

Do you think, in his painting,  Paul Gauguin has answered

Where do we come from?  What are we?  Where are we going?

How would you answer those questions?

To give you some time to think about that, here are lots of other photos I took yesterday (which may or may not help with the answers).

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Where do I come from?  Boston.  What am I?  Human.  Where am I going? Wherever life takes me.

Are you going with me?

Thanks to Paul Gauguin, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Picasso,  my friend Mary, Arlington’s Center for the Arts, The Healing Center, the Pat Metheny Group, and all the other humans who helped me create today’s post. And thanks to you, no matter where you come from, what you are, or where you’re going.

Categories: art, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1199: Guilt

I could feel guilt about several things today, including:

  • taking this photo, yesterday morning,

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  • eating all of this, last night:

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  • taking only three other photos, yesterday:

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“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.”
― Veronica Roth, Insurgent

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
― Voltaire

“I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.”
― D.D. Barant, Dying Bites

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

“Calvin : There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse.”
― Bill Watterson, The Complete Calvin and Hobbes

“He showed the words “chocolate cake” to a group of Americans and recorded their word associations. “Guilt” was the top response. If that strikes you as unexceptional, consider the response of French eaters to the same prompt: “celebration.”
― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

 

I don’t want to feel guilt about not including the song “Guilt” by Marianne Faithfull.

What are your thoughts about guilt?

If you don’t leave a comment, would you feel guilt about that?

I feel no guilt, as I press the “Publish” button for this post.

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

Day 1198: Mindful

What does the word “mindful” mean to you?

I’m mindful that I’ve asked that mindful question, many times before, to people whose minds are full of pain AND hope.

I’m mindful that “mindful” was the first thing I was mindful enough to capture on my iPhone yesterday.

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The world was filled with many other mindful things yesterday, when I was mindful enough to notice them.

Which of these mindful photos fill your mind, and why?

Here’s what I’m mindful of, right now:

  • Yesterday was the home opening game for our beloved Boston Red Sox.
  • As I walked through the crowd directly after the Red Sox game was over — mindful of how people looked, sounded, and acted — I tried to guess whether the Sox had won.
  • Despite a particularly difficult loss, people seemed okay.
  • One image I was mindful of  yesterday didn’t seem to belong with the mindful montage of photos above, so I left it out.
  • If you’re now mindful of any curiosity about that missing picture, here it is:

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I am now mindful of this: when we can, we pick and choose what we allow to fill our minds.

As always, I am mindful of how much I appreciate

  • those who helped me create this post and
  • YOU.
Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1197: Where creativity happens

Where creativity happens, that’s where I want to be.

Where creativity happens, I can learn and grow.

Where creativity happens, I can express myself authentically.

Where creativity happens, I am inspired.

Where creativity happens, I am more in the moment.

Where creativity happens, I let go of any regrets about the past.

Where creativity happens, I let go of fear and worry about the future.

Where creativity happens, I am more accepting.

Where creativity happens, I can show up, be gentle, and tell the truth.

Where creativity happens, I can see mistakes and imperfections as opportunities to solve problems .

Where creativity happens, I can let go of assumptions and expectations.

Where creativity happens, I am more playful and spontaneous.

Where creativity happens, I am less concerned with what other people think.

Where creativity happens, I can live non-judgmentally.

Where creativity happens, I feel free to share the love in my heart and the knowledge in my head.

Where creativity happens, I can bring all the different parts of me, without shame.

Q: Where does creativity happen?

A: Anywhere people have the means to create  and feel safe enough to do so.

Yesterday, creativity happened everywhere I went.

 

Yesterday, my boyfriend Michael creatively told me and my son about creative Craig Ferguson and creative Shirley Manson creatively talking about Edinburgh, Scotland, where creativity will happen (1) during the Festival Fringe in August and (2) when my son starts University there in September.

Here‘s creative Shirley Manson being creative musically:

Where creativity happens, there’s room for comments AND gratitude.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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