Monthly Archives: June 2020

Day 2775: Closure

Because today is my last day as President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I am thinking about closure.

As I wrote in another blog post about closure,

Closure is important, in order to move on.

There is no right or wrong way to do closure.

Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.

I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure. Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.

Here’s what I’ve written, so far, about closure in my final letter from the President:

As I’ve thought about writing this, my final letter to you as President of NSGP, naturally my mind has gone to thoughts of closure. (Personally, I don’t like the word “termination”, because that sounds SO final.) As I have learned from my trainings at NSGP (and as I often tell people in my “Coping and Healing” drop-in groups) a good-enough sense of closure is critical in transitions — allowing us to appreciate what we’ve shared together and to move ahead better equipped for future challenges.

In my groups, we often discuss the insufficient and disappointing closures with family members, friends, work situations, organizations, and other important aspects of our life, and how this lack of satisfying closure in important transitions can keep us stuck. During these challenging days, when we might be feeling uncomfortably stuck, closure is especially important.

So what helps with closure? Saying what feels left unsaid.

Naming what you got.

Naming what you didn’t get.

Discarding what is not serving you well.

Later today, I will facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group on a telehealth platform (which I sometimes call “The Home Version of Coping and Healing”). At the end of the group, the participants will hear me, as usual, acknowledge the importance of  getting closure in the “wrap up” section of the group. I will introduce wrap-up by explaining, again, what helps with closure. I will invite discarding “what is not serving you well” by showing this to the group:

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That’s the magic waste paper basket, an important part of my Coping and Healing groups. If you throw something away in the magic waste paper basket, it will either go away or  come back less powerful.  Here’s an incomplete list of what people have thrown away in the magic waste paper basket:

  • self-judgment,
  • self-doubt,
  • difficult people,
  • unhealthy behaviors,
  • negative self-talk,
  • worry,
  • cognitive distortions,
  • pain, and
  • paper.

Do you see closure in these other images?

 

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We’re working on getting  humane closure with our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer.

Here‘s “Closure” by Hayley Warner

… and “Closure” by Opeth:

I’ll get closer to closure by quoting this comment from YouTube about Opeth’s “Closure”:

Alex Mercer
1 year ago
The abrupt ending pisses me off. I need closure!!

Alex Mercer needs closure. Do you?

Gratitude helps me get closure, every day.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2774: Best ideas

One of my best ideas recently has been to spend time watching the Ken Burns PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

One of Ken Burns’s best ideas was to use “Sligo Creek” by Al Petteway and Amy White as the theme music for that series about the history of U.S. National Parks.

One of my best ideas has been to visit U.S. National Parks including Acadia, Arches, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion.

When I couldn’t sleep recently and couldn’t figure out why, I shared this best idea by Dr. Seuss with my husband, Michael:

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”

Do you see any best ideas in these recent photos?

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A best idea is to drink herbal tea before bed. Also, veggie burgers are another best idea.

Another best idea is for my son Aaron (seen in this photo discussing best ideas with his mother) …

… to get tested for COVID-19 before he joins us at home on Wednesday. That photo also illustrates some best ideas of social distancing.

Please share any best ideas in the comments section below.

My best idea about ending my blog posts is to express gratitude to everyone, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2773: Your participation is requested

Your participation is requested, as stated here:

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Your participation is requested in this blog post, as I share these photos from yesterday.

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How do you tend to participate?  Do you participate more when your participation is requested?

Your participation is requested in answering this question:

When I was participating in the flow of love yesterday by taking one of the photos above, somebody came out of  their house and asked, “Can I help you?”  When I said, “I’m taking a picture of this because I thought it was funny,” she nodded, went back in her house while saying, ‘We are big skiers.”  Which photo was it?

 

When I search YouTube for “your participation is requested” I find this:

Your participation is requested in appreciation and gratitude!

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2772: The light

As I’ve said to several people lately, “I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it’s not a train coming in the opposite direction.”

Can you see the light in my photos from yesterday?

Here‘s “I Saw the Light” by Todd Rundgren:

I look forward to seeing the light in the comments section, below.

There’s always the light of gratitude at the end of these posts (and I don’t think it’s a train coming in the other direction!).

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2771: Farewell for now

The amazing blogger beth made this hopeful, beautiful, helpful, and caring comment about my post from yesterday:

… hope that the memorial for your friend was beautiful and helped all of you who cared for her to say farewell for now.

That hope was realized, as I hope  you can see in these photos from yesterday:

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Those Ruth Bader Ginsberg socks were worn by Lisa, one of my co-workers. Until we were saying farewell for now to Eleanor, Lisa and I didn’t know we were connected by our love for her.

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That’s my old friend Andy, who I’ve known almost as long as I’ve known Eleanor.  We were reunited yesterday as we said farewell for now to her.

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I was so happy to finally meet Eleanor’s children, Gabe and Rosa, after hearing so many wonderful things about them.  As we said farewell for now to their mother, I could  see Eleanor’s beautiful legacy in them.

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Eleanor’s husband Ira and I spoke about how difficult it was to say farewell for now to Eleanor because she was soooo cool. We love her so much that we have trouble believing she’s gone from this world. We also know that she lives on in many, many loving hearts.

When I say farewell for now to somebody I love, everything reminds me of them.

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I love you, Eleanor.

Here‘s Farewell … For Now by Georges Delerue:

 

Thanks to all who are helping me say farewell for now to my long-time and beloved friend Eleanor, including YOU.

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Categories: in memoriam, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2770: _________ People

Hello, people!

The news today is full of __________ people.  How would you fill in the blank?

Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar refers to BEAUTIFUL people.

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Here’s a quote from Chief Red Eagle about ANGRY people and LOVING people:

Angry people want you to see how powerful they are. Loving people want you to see how powerful you are.

I will be seeing LOVING people today at an outdoor memorial gathering for my beloved friend, Eleanor.

__________ people take photos like these:

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Now I’m thinking about APPRECIATIVE people and SOULFUL people.

Ranker.com has a list of The Best Songs About People, Here and now, I’m choosing Curtis Mayfield‘s “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue.”

GRATEFUL people end their blog posts like this.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2769: Big hikes

Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar relates to big hikes:

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I am hearing from many people, through my Coping and Healing groups, that food choices and walks are very important these days.

Here are some photos from yesterday’s big hike:

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Thanks to Michael for that big meal (with monkfish, vegetables, and noodles) after my big hike.

It was hot here yesterday, so here‘s “Heat of the Day” by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays:

 

No matter where I’m hiking, I’m always feeling big gratitude:

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Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 2768: Smiles

I wonder how many smiles appear when the latest post of The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally shows up (even when it’s late, like today)?

In a Coping and Healing telehealth group today, the mindfulness exercise was focusing on smiles. We talked about how even a fake smile can get endorphins going and improve somebody’s mood.

Smiles are particularly difficult to come by these days because of

  • tension,
  • stress,
  • worry,
  • fear,
  • uncertainty,
  • discomfort,
  • loss, and
  • masks.

How many smiles can you find in these recent photos?

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You may need to click on some of those smaller photos to look for smiles, but smiles are always worth looking for.

Here‘s a song about smiles:

I’ll smile if you leave a comment and I hope gratitude makes you smile.

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Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2767: Staring at the Sun

Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death is a book I’ve stared at many times.

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Yesterday, when I was staring at my son in the midday sun …

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… I got the very sad, unexpected, and darkening news that my long-time friend Eleanor had passed away.

Eleanor, who was described in an online memorial as “sunshine, determination, kindness, humor, a keen mind and a really great friend” brought the sun into my life for over 45 years.  Here’s a portion of her obituary:

Eleanor was a caring and giving person, made up of pure love and light, and left nothing but warmth and care with everyone who knew her. She had a contagious smile and strong will. She was the sun on a dark day, the cool breeze on a hot day. The twinkle in her eyes could warm the darkest, most inner part of anyone’s soul. We now have another angel on our side to help us fight for peace, which is what she always wanted. May her spirit continue to guide us through this life, and always remind us to live and lead with our heart. There will be a private ceremony. To make donations in Eleanor’s honor please consider Project Bread, http://www.projectbread.org/, the Kestrel Land Trust https://www.kestreltrust.org/, or the Equal Justice Institute https://eji.org/.

Eleanor last commented on this blog on Mother’s Day:

Eleanor
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY ANN!
And this mother thanks you for all your posts over the years – what I look forward to each day to amuse me, inspire me, make me ponder, and just enjoy.
Peace and love to you

Eleanor was a caring and loving friend who gave me advice, cards, tickets to wonderful events,  rides to appointments when I was dealing with health issues,  and — during rain and shine —  her fabulous company (described here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, and here,). We talked about cats, haircuts, food, work, politics, children, husbands, other people, social justice, the present, the past, the future, love, and everything else under the sun.

Whenever I asked her if I could put her picture in my blog, she’d say, “Some day.  Not yet.” I can picture the sunshine of her kind, curious, and loving face, right now.

Eleanor gave me these avocado socks …

… and I believe that the last time I saw her we had avocado toast, dining under the sun at a cafe near the shore.  There was such synchronicity and connection between us, we often finished each other’s sentences.

I took many photos yesterday, staring at the sun and the new reality that my long-time friend Eleanor had passed on.

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That last photo of a couple staring at the sun makes me think about Eleanor’s husband, Ira, who sent me the email yesterday about her passing.  May her memory be a comfort to him, her two children, and all who loved her.

As always, I’m staring at gratitude for all I have, here and now.

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

Day 2765: Stoned

You might think, from looking at this photo,

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that somebody was stoned when Michael and I gathered with my son Aaron and my ex-in-laws for my first social gathering since March. I don’t think so, but who knows? And even though it might not look like it, I kept a stone’s throw distance from my son Aaron and my ex-in-laws, too.

You might think that I chose the title for today’s post because I took these photos of stones yesterday:

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You might think I was stoned when I took some of these photos, but I was not.

 

Who needs to get stoned when I  can look at scenes like these?

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Do Harley or Oscar look stoned?

I wonder if Oscar will feel stoned when I bring him out for a walk in his new stroller.

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Here‘s Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and many others performing “Everybody Must Get Stoned” at Farm Aid in 1986:

Please don’t throw any stones when you comment on this “Stoned” post, below.

Finally, stoned gratitude from me to you!

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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