Monthly Archives: May 2019

Day 2322: We want to know what you think!

I don’t know what you think, but when I see a sign that says people want to know what I think …

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… I often think this:

They want to sell me something.

I think I might be too suspicious, especially since I always tell people in my Coping and Healing groups that I want to know what they think.

I let people in my groups know that I want to know what they think (and feel) by naming what I’m curious about in the moment, which often includes

  • their experience of whatever mindfulness exercise we did at the beginning of the group,
  • everything that’s happened since the last time I saw them,
  • what’s going on for them in the moment (including thoughts, feelings, and body experiences),
  • anything they’re aware of that might be contributing to what’s going on for them in the moment, and
  • many other curious thoughts I’m having.

Then I shut up, to let them know I’m more interested in what they think than I am in what I think.

I want to know what you think about my other photos from yesterday.

 

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I want to know what you think about things I might do during my week off from work, besides

  • walk and observe nature,
  • see lots of flowering trees,
  • spend time with friends,
  • enjoy delicious food,
  • complete a *%$*&#@ form for the Internal Revenue Service,
  • chair a board meeting of group therapists,
  • let people know about the Northeastern Society for  Group Psychotherapy‘s June conference,
  • celebrate Mother’s Day,
  • miss my late mother, and
  • appreciate each precious moment.

I want to know what you think of this song:

 

We want to know what you think of this post, of course.

Do you want to know what I think?  I’m thinking thoughts of gratitude for all those who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2321: Messages

Fourteen hundred days ago (but who’s counting?), I wrote another blog post titled “Messages.”  During my first year of blogging, I wrote three posts about messages: Day 317: Challenging Negative Messages, Day 178: Feeling discouraged, what helps, and voicemail messages, and Day 144: “Emergency” messages.

My messages for today include the following:

  • Some messages bear repeating,
  • Sometimes people don’t want to hear messages,
  • Messages can be direct, implied, or unexpressed,
  • The medium is the message,
  • I enjoy exchanging messages with my son through the medium of our phones,
  • People talked about messages in a Coping and Healing group recently,
  • Mixed messages are everywhere,
  • Some messages are hard to read,
  • Clarity is important for getting your messages through,
  • Many of us have internalized harsh, critical messages from the past,
  • This week, two people shared the message that attending my groups has been “life changing,”
  • Some people prefer messages in words and other people prefer messages in pictures.

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Which one of those visual messages pops for you?

Here’s “Message in a Bottle” by the Police:

If you want the messages of those lyrics more clearly, here‘s this video:

Please accept my messages of gratitude at the end of every post.

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

Day 2320: Living the Dream

For me, living the dream includes spending quality time with wonderful people. Yesterday, I heard from my dream of a friend, Jeanette, who is living in Philadelphia, that she will be spending more time in Boston because of a job change.  For me, this is a dream come true.   In response, I sent her this image:

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I believe I am living the dream, here and now, because

  • I have a job I love,
  • I have friends I love,
  • I have a boyfriend I love and live with,
  • I’m President of a group therapy organization I love,
  • I get to blog every day for lovely and lively people,
  • I’m taking a vacation next week during the dreamiest time of the year in Boston, and
  • my son is coming home from University this month!

Living the dream includes balance, which was the topic of yesterday’s Coping and Healing group.  Can you see  other aspects of living the dream in these photos?

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Drake White is Living the Dream:

Sturgill Simpson is Living the Dream:

What does living the dream mean to you?

Living the dream includes experiencing and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Day 2319: Blame

Who’s to blame for never writing a post titled “Blame” before, even though it’s one of the thirteen cognitive distortions discussed here?

I’m to blame for that and for repeating that description here:

We blame ourselves for every problem, or hold other people entirely responsible for a negative situation or feeling. When we focus on assigning blame and figuring out who is “at fault”, we are usually ignoring the complexity of a situation. Also, blaming can result in staying stuck in negative feelings, rather than moving towards action and solutions.

Does it help to blame?  What about this major news story?

1 million species are at risk of extinction.  Humans are to blame.

I’m very upset about that news story.  Can you blame me?

However, I don’t want to stay stuck in negative feelings. I’d rather move towards actions and solutions. But what actions and solutions are there?

I try not to blame myself for becoming overwhelmed, sometimes, by the immensity of problems.

I do think there is a difference between blaming and taking responsibility. Blaming keeps us stuck in the past and pointing fingers at each other.  Taking responsibility is more adult, focusing less on shame and more on the next achievable steps.

I take responsibility for all these photos and please don’t blame me if they don’t relate to today’s topic (because I took them all before I knew what I was going to write about this morning).

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Here‘s the witch from Stephen Sondheim’s  Into the Woods singing about the futility of blame:

I take responsibility for expressing my sincere gratitude at the end of every post.  Thanks to all for helping me create this blog and for reading it, here and now!

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

Day 2318: How did that get there?

How did I get here, to this 2318th day of consecutive blogging, without writing a post titled “How did that get there?”  I get that there were two thousand, three hundred, and seventeen other worthy titles to share,  but I’m often wondering, “how did that get there?”

Indeed, yesterday I wondered that very thing when I looked at my calendar for the day:

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I wondered, “How did that  ‘X’ get there at 3 AM?” I also wondered, “How did that extra ‘l’ get there in John Mulaney‘s name?”

How did the other new photos on my iPhone get there?

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How did that get there? My niece, Victoria, and I were wondering last night how our country got here and we shared how we get back to hope and happiness by watching, among other things,  RuPaul’s Drag Race and John Mulaney stand-up routines.

Pete Davidson got to the audience last night by revealing the ending of Avengers: Endgame without issuing a spoiler alert.  It gets to me how Pete Davidson’s father, who was a New York City Firefighter, died in the September 11 attacks when Pete was just seven years old.  Pete got to that in his stand-up routine last night.

John Mulaney, in his stand-up routine, got to how he got there last night at Boston’s Wilbur Theater. He was there to raise money for My Brother’s Table, a Lynn, Massachusetts-based charity that his Nana has been volunteering at for years.   His Nana, who was in the audience, got to see her grandson give a great show.

How did John Mulaney and Pete Davidson get to be such good friends when they are SO different?  Here they are together on Saturday Night Live:

How did this Larry King interview with John Mulaney get here? It showed up right after the video above.

How did this amazing SNL skit written by John Mulaney get there?

How do readers’ comments get there?  See below.

How does gratitude get here, every day? I look for it, wherever I go.

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

Day 2317: Spoiler Alert

Spoiler Alert!  Yesterday I saw Avengers: Endgame, the kind of movie that evokes the use of the words “Spoiler Alert!” when people write about it.

Spoiler Alert! I’m alert to the importance of not give away spoilers about a movie that

  • billions of people have not yet seen,
  • has lots of twists and turns,
  • has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes,
  • makes people laugh and cry,  and
  • says, to me, that group therapy is a very effective way to deal with trauma and loss.

Spoiler Alert!  I am not doing my usual thing of linking to the Wikipedia entry about Avengers: Endgame,  because that has countless alert spoilers in it.

Spoiler Alert!   I wonder if I’m reducing my readership for this blog post by repeating the words “Spoiler Alert”?

Spoiler Alert!  Last night I couldn’t sleep and started writing a song called “Spoiler Alert.”

Spoiler Alert! Here are the lyrics I’ve written so far:

Spoiler alert!

Things in your life are going to hurt.

Even nice people will sometimes be curt.

Some foolish words you’ll be certain to blurt.

Spoiler alert!

You’ll eat too much of a fattening dessert.

   You’ll be afraid that you might lose your shirt.

Someone you love will treat you like dirt.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

My sleepless hours  are not going to spoil my day —  I’ll be alert at work today and also tonight at the sold-out John Mulaney and Pete Davidson comedy benefit for My Brother’s Table.

Spoiler Alert! I’m going to share all my photos from yesterday, right now!

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I spoiled that last shot, obviously,  by walking and talking while I was taking it.

Spoiler Alert!  They Might Be Giants have a song called “Spoiler Alert”!

Spoiler Alert!  I’m alert to gratitude all around me, so I can share it with you!

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2316: How to get ready

Two nights ago, I sang my original song “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” (and if you’re ready to see that Open Mic performance, it’s in yesterday’s post).

As I was getting ready to write today’s blog post, I thought it might be useful to share some ideas about how to get ready (even when you don’t FEEL ready).

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  • Look up, look down, look all around.

 

Notice any possible danger in your immediate vicinity and “look for the helpers” (thanks to Mr. Rogers).

Take a couple of precious moments, here and there, to reflect.

 

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  • Remember that you can always take a rest, if you need one.

 

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  • When you’re in the dark, reach out for somebody.

 

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  • Remember that there are always new prizes to win and if you miss out on one, don’t have a cow.

 

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  • Take the next achievable step, even in the midst of uncertainty.

 

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  • Recognize  your options, even when it looks like curtains.

 

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  • Remember that new and unforeseen things are around every corner. If you’re ready to play with them,  maybe they’ll even be fun!

 

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  • Keep in touch with your inner child but also remember you can throw an F-bomb, when appropriate.

 

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  • Remember that you’re the expert on when you’re ready.
  • Hydrate.

 

Ready for a song about getting ready?

 

Now I’m going to get ready to leave the house and see Avengers: Endgame. No matter how and when I’m ready, that movie will be playing somewhere, nearby.

How to get ready to leave a comment for this blog?  Just do it!

Ready for some gratitude?  Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2315: Long story, short

Because I’m hosting a retreat for group therapists at our home today, I need to make a long story, short.

Yesterday, I had a long day in which I

  • visited the hospital’s gift shop,
  • facilitated a Coping and Healing therapy group,
  • did individual therapy,
  • responded on short notice to people in crisis,
  • said “au revoir” — feeling sad AND happy — to graduating social work intern (and my co-writer and co-performer of the song “Nobody’s Perfect”), wonderful Nat Shirley,
  • exchanged short horn-honks with another yellow Honda Fit like mine,
  • had a short conversation with the two lovely people riding in that Honda Fit, and
  • sang one short original song near the end of a long Open Mic night, all the while being my short self wearing a long skirt and long earrings.

Since pictures are worth a thousand words, sharing photos might be the best way to make a long story short.

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Amelia and Percy, my new Honda-Fit friends, told me a short story about how she thinks our cars are yellow and he thinks they’re lime green.

Here‘s me telling the long story, short, about how I left the house before I felt ready:

 

Please leave your long or short comments, below.

Long gratitude, short:

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2314: The best _______ of your life

Yesterday at work, I went to a meeting that aspired to be the best meeting of my life.

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However, it was NOT the best meeting of my life.  It was not even the best meeting of my DAY, because there were two meetings of my Coping and Healing therapy groups after that work meeting.

Because I am lucky enough to facilitate five therapy group meetings every week, the meetings of my life keep getting better and better.

I don’t think these are the best photographs of my life, but I’m sharing them anyway:

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Are those the best photos of Harley’s life?  There have been so many great ones …

… it’s difficult to say.

Tonight, I may have the best Open Mic of my life.  Time will tell.

Here are American Authors with “The Best Day of My Life.”

 

Are you going to make the best comment of your life?

One of the best things in my life is looking for ways to express gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2313: Peace

Peace to you, my readers.

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I felt peace yesterday when I found that “Peace” holiday postcard sent by my friend, fabulous photographer Kathy Tarantola.

I felt peace throughout the day as I returned to my pledge of “No Worries for a Year.

I now notice that many of my photos from yesterday reflect peace.

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What peace did you find in those photos?  What peace do you find anywhere, these days?

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me, you, and all of us.

Peace and gratitude to all who helped me create the peace in today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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