Monthly Archives: March 2017

Day 1551: Some of all fears

Last night in my therapy group, some people wrote down their fears, as well as ways to let go of fear.

I fear that I did not take a picture of all I wrote in that group session. However, here are some of all the fears I listed:

  • Mistakes that are irrevocable.
  • Losing out on something I want.
  • Malice.
  • Death (mine and other people’s).
  • Heights.
  • Abuse.
  • Stupid or mean people in positions of power.
  • The cold.
  • The dark.
  • Bad doctors.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Illness.
  • Pain.
  • Shame.
  • Rage.
  • Ticks.
  • Car accidents.
  • The news.

The sum of all the fears I wrote down last night was much larger than that.

Here are some of my ways to reduce fear:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Name the fear.
  • Self care.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take a small step forward.
  • Connect with supportive people.
  • Be in the here and now.
  • Acceptance.
  • Nature.
  • Healthy food.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Tea.
  • Humor.
  • Cats.
  • Music.

While I didn’t take pictures of anything I wrote in last night’s therapy group, never fear!  I did take the sum of all these photos yesterday:











What might be some of your fears and ways to reduce fear?

I fear I forgot to include something important in my second list, above.


My gratitude to all who helped me create the sum of this post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1550: Worrying and Planning

Earlier this week, I spoke to somebody in therapy who believed  worrying was a necessary part of planning.

I replied, without worrying about it, “No, no, no, no. Worrying is never helpful.  Never.”

While I rarely plan to use all-or-nothing statements like that, I do believe that worrying never helps. People often believe that worrying helps motivate planning. Actually, worrying wastes valuable time and energy while you’re planning.  Planning is much more productive and fun without the burden of worrying.

Even though we weren’t planning on it, we had a good discussion about the uselessness of worrying.  At the end of the therapy session, we both said, “No worries.”

Right now, I’m planning

  • to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” accompanying myself on a Kalimba and
  • to see a house by the water, which we might make an offer on.

I’ve been planning to write today’s blog post in order to let go of any worrying about all that.

I’m planning on sharing all the photos I took yesterday, without any worrying.















Are you worrying about what music I’m planning to include here?

If you’re planning on leaving a comment, I’m not worrying about that, either.

I’m always planning to end each post with gratitude to all who helped me create it and to you — of course! — no matter what you’re planning today.

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

Day 1549: If you could be any animal, which would you be?

If I could be any animal besides a human, I’d be a duck, because a duck

Yesterday, after my therapy group, when I was being sociable with the nurses at work, I noticed  they had chosen a different animal for me.


If I could be any animal besides a human or a duck, I’d be a butterfly, because a butterfly

  • is adept in the air,
  • spends a lot of time around flowers,
  • looks great, and
  • changes in very profound ways.

If you could be any animal, would you be any of these?

If you could be any animal interviewing for a job, you might find this useful:

If you could choose any musical number about any animal, which would it be? The animals at YouTube just suggested two  (here and here):

The Lion King medley reminds me that I’ll be singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” for groups of animals, very soon.

Thanks to all the animals that helped me create this post and to you — of course! — no matter what animal you’d be.

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

Day 1548: Mean people

Yesterday morning, when I was thinking about mean people and also about what people mean, I saw this bumper sticker.


What does that bumper sticker mean to you, people?

Who are the mean people?

What makes a person mean?

Does it matter what they really mean when they’re being mean?

Even though we may disagree on who the mean people are, can we agree that mean people suck?

Last night, when Michael and I were discussing the meaning of people being mean, he quoted a line from Bruce Springsteen‘s Nebraska.

“I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.”

I still don’t understand what it means that so many people in Nebraska (and in this world) voted for somebody I think is mean.

What do my other photos mean, people?









That last photo means that I meant to take a better picture of what Michael cooked for me last night. Michael, who is the opposite of mean, is a mean cook. (And by mean cook, I mean a great one.)

What does Nebraska mean, people?

Is it mean that I’m asking so many questions?

Here’s my last question for this mean-people post: What does my last picture mean, people?


It means that I’m grateful to all the people who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for reading it, no matter what you think it means.

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

Day 1547: Every beat of my heart

Ever since I got a mechanical heart valve on September 21, 2016, I can hear and feel the beat of my heart.  That’s why I appreciated every beat of this heart-felt message:


I know, with every beat of my heart, that sharing your thoughts and feelings with a group can be good for your heart and soul. So, yesterday, I  posted this on the Facebook page of the Zipper Sisters (a private group for women born with heart conditions):

To my sisters with a mechanical heart valve: Can you hear and/or feel the valve (like I do)? What’s that like for you?

All the different hearts that answered my questions helped my heart and my soul feel heard, connected, supported, and quieter.

As my heart was beating yesterday, I noticed and captured every image in today’s post.
















Because every beat of my heart values honesty and authenticity, I confess that I did not take those last two photos — I found them here and here.

Every beat of my heart loves this performance by Gladys Knight & the Pips:


Every beat of my heart feels gratitude for all who helped me create this post and — of course! — for you.

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

Day 1546: How to decide

How to decide how to start this post?


  • Explore all your options.
  • Look at the pros and cons of all your different options.
  • Listen to others who have relevant wisdom.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Be logical.
  • Follow your heart.
  • Look for signs from the universe.
  • Pay attention to your dreams.
  • Flip a coin and see whether you want to flip it again.
  • Check your comfort level at each stage of the process.
  • Realize that even a “wrong” decision is not the end of the world.

How do you decide?

How to decide which photos from yesterday I should include here?

















How to decide whether to give peas and/or peace a chance?

How to decide which music to share?

Here‘s a song about how to decide from Into the Woods:

How to decide how to thank all who helped me create todays’ post and — of course! — YOU?




Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1545: We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be

We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be, which is

  • on earth,
  • at my blog,
  • accepting,
  • close enough to water,
  • breathing,
  • alive,
  • growing,
  • searching,
  • here,
  • now, and
  • looking at these pictures together.










tombstone (1)


tombstone (2)

We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. We’re at that point in my daily post where I share some music.

Last night, when I was exactly where I was supposed to be, I heard a wonderful orchestral piece on Boston’s classical radio station.

That’s Debussy‘s La Mer (The Sea). The sea is exactly where I’m supposed to be today, looking at a home by the ocean.

We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be. We’re at the end of today’s post, where I express thanks to all who help me create this blog and to you — of course! — who are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

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

Day 1544: If …

If I were to choose a wonderful book for questions to ask during group therapy sessions, what would it be?


If I were to share one question that was asked in a group therapy session last night, what would it be?

If you were to choose what you wanted written on your gravestone, what would it be?

If I were to create a gravestone online that showed my answer to that question, what would it look like?


If I were to choose one person who could untangle hopelessly tangled jewelry, who would it be?


My boyfriend, Michael.

If you wanted to see a map showing all-time readership for this blog, where might you find it?


If I were to predict one country where my blog would never be read, what would it be?


If my friends on Facebook were asked to guess what that was a map of, how might they respond?

  • Alien abductions?
  • Gun deaths?
  • Ketchup countries vs. mustard countries vs. Russian dressing countries vs. mold countries?
  • Highest rate of obesity?
  • Years of Living Non-Judgmentally blog readers?
  • Places that currently have Meals on Wheels and PBS?
  • Places that have The Voice try outs?

If I were to create a customized t-shirt, what might it say?


If I were to choose a great saying for a tea bag, what might it be?


If I could choose an appropriate song for today’s post, what might it be?

If you could leave a comment for this post, what would it be?

If I could thank anybody in the world right now, who would it be?

Everybody who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Day 1543: Backgrounds

My background includes technical writing, marketing communications, and psychotherapy.

In the background, I’ve been looking up the definition of “background.”

Definition of background

  1. a :  the scenery or ground behind something – a picture of her son with mountains in the background – background scenery for the play

    b art :  the part of a painting representing what lies behind objects in the foreground – dark shadows in the background of the painting

    c :  an image that displays on a computer screen underneath the various available icons and windows – As they participate, they earn “Kinetic City Points,” which they can spend on downloadable prizes, such as screensavers and computer backgrounds. — Science

  2.  an inconspicuous position  – shy people who try to stay in the background

  3. a.  the conditions that form the setting within which something is experienced… set in a background of tropical luxuriance. — Tom Marvel

    b (1) :  the circumstances or events antecedent to a phenomenon or development – the economic background of the American Civil War took place against a background of increasing tension

    (2) :  information essential to understanding of a problem or situation – background information

    c :  the total of a person’s experience, knowledge, and education – comparing the candidates’ backgrounds –  ran a background check to make sure she had no criminal record

  4.  a. intrusive sound or radiation  that interferes with received or recorded electronic signals – a recording with a lot of background noise

    b physics :  a more or less steady level of noise above which the effect  being measured by an apparatus is detected;  especially :  a somewhat steady level of radiation in the natural environment (as from cosmic rays)

  5.  a level of computer processing at which the processor uses time not required for a primary task to work on an additional task — compare foreground.

In the background, I’ve been inconspicuously trying to correct the inevitable formatting errors and complications that occur whenever I try to bring a definition into the foreground of my blog.

Here’s the background of how I chose the title of today’s post: Yesterday morning I was changing backgrounds while I was self-soothing with a game of on-line solitaire.

Congratulations to me for winning at solitaire and congratulations to for offering so many backgrounds.  I usually use the first background shown above; perhaps from now on I’ll use different backgrounds, depending on my mood.

After I solitarily photographed all those backgrounds, I noticed other backgrounds throughout my day.












That last photo, with the artwork and books in the background, shows my EMDR therapist, George Sawin, moving some EMDR equipment at the end of our session. George’s background includes psychotherapy, law enforcement, flower shops, and  business management.  When we were discussing the importance of backgrounds, I mentioned this poem to him:

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
Want to know the background of this background, shown above?
Somebody in my therapy group yesterday morning suggested we project a YouTube video of a beach in Hawaii on the screen in the group room. We used that for our mindfulness exercise and then we left it running in the background throughout the group.
What’s your background? Are backgrounds important to you?
Please don’t stay in the background; instead, leave a comment below.
My background includes an appreciation for acknowledging and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what your background.
Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1542: Exclamation points!

At one point yesterday morning, I exclaimed, “There’s the topic for my next blog post! Exclamation points!”


Exclamation points are valuable!

I now exclaim that I saw exclamation points at many points throughout the day!













I shall now exclaim all these points!

  • I love my work!
  • When things suck, it’s important to remember that you don’t suck!
  • I love Egyptian Licorice Yogi tea!
  • Fear of commitment and fear of failure are very common human fears!
  • I often write helpful phrases up on my white board!
  • I love ice cream!
  • I’ve stopped eating kale because it has so much vitamin K, it screws up my INR blood levels!
  • I don’t miss kale!
  • I love spring!
  • Spring is here!
  • Today is going to be very cold in Boston!
  • The cold doesn’t bother me when I know it’s going to end soon!
  • I’m not going to have chips and dips on National Chip and Dip day because I’ll be working late leading a therapy group!
  • Yesterday, somebody said to me, “We all say the same thing about you — Ann is a great group leader!”
  • I love compliments!
  • It helps to exclaim positive points because we tend to forget them!
  • I love the Beatles!
  • Help!

I hope you exclaim some points in a comment!

Thanks to all  who helped me create this post and to you — of course!




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

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