Author Archives: Ann Koplow

About Ann Koplow

I'm a clinical social worker at a major teaching hospital, specializing in group therapy.

Day 2339: Mother Earth

Today is my late mother‘s birthday AND Earth Day

As my mother (who loved the ocean, animals, and her family) used to say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”  So how do I celebrate her birthday and Earth Day well?

Here’s a card I saw yesterday that seems like something else my mother would say to me:

IMG_4346

I can do this: I can tell you that I love my mother and Mother Earth very much and I try to celebrate them every day.

Here are almost all my other photos from yesterday:

IMG_4349

IMG_4347

IMG_4354

IMG_4348

IMG_4355

IMG_4356

IMG_4357

IMG_4358

IMG_4359

IMG_4360

IMG_4361

IMG_4362

Here‘s a Mother Earth Song:

How are you going to celebrate Earth Day?

As I do every day (and I hope I do it well), I express my gratitude. Here’s the other photo I took yesterday:

IMG_4351


After I published this post, this photo of my  mother and me showed up on FaceBook:

10304707_10202866756743237_3280487545406656066_n

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 2338: Big kisses

Big kisses to

IMG_4343

IMG_4342

IMG_4333

IMG_4334

IMG_4330

IMG_4331

IMG_4332

IMG_4338

Big kisses to the wonderful people from my group psychotherapy organization who wrote “joy”, “passion,” “change”, ” positivity”, “love”, and other things on those beach stones at a retreat last fall.

Big kisses to these two for creating this video:

 

There’s a big list of songs with “kiss” in the title, including “Prelude to a Kiss,”

“Kiss on My List,”

and “The Perfect Kiss.”

Big kisses to Duke Ellington, Hall & Oates, and New Order.

Big kisses and thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU!

IMG_4345

IMG_4344

 

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

Day 2337: How to have a nice day

Here are some hints about how to have a nice day (based on my nice yesterday):

  • Take nice photos to share with nice people.
  • Be ready to use helping signs.

IMG_4317

  • Nicely help yourself and others.

IMG_4313

  • Say “please.”
  • Work on acceptance and hope.

IMG_4315

  • Be strong (and also vulnerable).

IMG_4314

  • Consider forgiveness.

fullsizeoutput_385d

  • Use productivity hacks.
  • Be open to (and less rigid  about)  new experiences and understanding.

IMG_4318

  • Put aside what’s not good for you (if only for the day).

IMG_4319

  • Do things for fun!

fullsizeoutput_3861

  • Sing new songs, no matter who and how old you are.
  • Consider the past and the future while remaining present.

IMG_4321

  • Plan a date night.

IMG_4322

  • Share love — locally and globally.
  • Be where you are, completely.

IMG_4323

fullsizeoutput_385e

IMG_4325

fullsizeoutput_385f

IMG_4324

fullsizeoutput_3860

How do you have a nice day?

Here‘s the nice Bon Jovi singing “Have a nice day.”

 

Nice thanks to all the nice people who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

IMG_4219

 

Categories: celebrating, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2336: The difference between worry and helping

As I described in last week’s post — Day 2328: A Year of No Worry — I have pledged to not worry for a year, which has been helping!  As also described in that post, I told an employee at Home Depot — who said, “It’s my job to worry” — that there was a huge difference between worry and helping.

Yesterday, in a therapy session, the difference between worry and helping came up again.

IMG_4297

As you can see from those lists, worry entails many negative experiences and helping includes much more positive experiences.  In some cases, the experiences are almost opposite (“frozen” vs. “warmth” and “future” vs. “in the moment”). And yet, people often intertwine worry with helping, believing that unless they worry about others, they will focus too much attention on themselves — becoming selfish jerks rather than helpers.  As usual, black and white thinking (one of the cognitive distortions found here) causes us to think it’s all or nothing — either we are selfish jerks or worrying helpers.

What I’m discovering, in my year of no worries, is that letting go of worry is helping me become a better helper to others.  Worry saps my energy and gets in the way of my being as much as possible in the moment with others and therefore more sensitive to their needs.

I’m not going to worry about whether my writing in today’s post or my other photos from yesterday are helping.

IMG_4295.JPG

IMG_4293

IMG_4294

IMG_4296

IMG_4299.JPG

IMG_4298

IMG_4300

IMG_4301.JPG

IMG_4302

IMG_4303

IMG_4306

IMG_4308

fullsizeoutput_385b

fullsizeoutput_385c

IMG_4312.JPG

If you need help interpreting any of those photos, don’t worry.  Ask for help and I’ll give it, worry-free.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “The difference between worry and helping”:

I think that video about differences between humans and animals is very helpful.

The  human band Golden Earring has at least two songs about worry:  “No Need to Worry”

.. and “Don’t Worry.”

 

No need to worry and don’t worry about leaving a comment, below.

Worry-free and helping thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

IMG_3763

 

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

Day 2335: In a perfect world

In a perfect world,

IMG_4275.JPG

trees would always be flowering,

IMG_4277

IMG_4278

everybody would get to live exactly where they want,

IMG_4270

there would be effective and meaningful communication despite skepticism, religious differences, difficult people, and cognitive distortions like blaming,

IMG_4269

we would be looking to the future for our children,

IMG_4281

the best things in life would be free,

IMG_4282.JPG

potato chips would be good for you,

IMG_4280

people would greet each other without fear,

IMG_4290

there would be safe places for people to work things out together, and

IMG_4283

every home would have a cat and every cat would have a home.

 

In a perfect world, all people would be able to express their thoughts  and feelings about their perfect worlds (which you can do, below).

Searching for “in a perfect world” on YouTube finds this

and this.

I find Phora‘s lyrics so perfect that I’m going to include them here:

In A Perfect World

by Phora

Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
See, in a perfect world it would all be so simple
Sometimes simple isn’t worth it
Cause all the hard times I’ve been through
Made me the man I am today
And I ain’t nowhere close to perfect
But I’m perfectly fine with that, I’m still breathing
So many scars and wounds that’ll never heal
I’m still bleeding, I know you see ’em
All those imperfections in yourself
You’re just stressing it too much, but life’s a lesson in itself
One day we’ll learn what it means
One day we’ll learn to be free
Baby, I’ve been trying to separate my wants and my needs
But what does perfect mean?
Lately I’ve been asking myself
If I paint you this picture maybe you’ll answer yourself
You see, a perfect world to me is no more violence
No more gunshots at night, homie and no more
Sirens
No more kids losing their life too soon and no drunk driving
I seen it a lot happen way too many times and we ain’t trying
We ain’t trying hard enough to change it, broken hearts and hatred
A perfect world to me is a world free of this racists
So who are you to judge a person by the color of skin
How hard is it just to smile and treat each other as kin
I wish, there was a world where our children could play outside
Without a drive-by, curving and watching straight bullets fly
But why, why does it feel like we’re not ready?
When I talk about change, man
Why I feel like they don’t get me?
Well, I guess I ain’t perfect enough
One day the money and jewels gon’ be worthless to us
We gonna value ourselves based of the love in our hearts
Not the cash in our pockets
I’m thinking what if we start a perfect world
Where the music ain’t downgrading our women
And they stop degrading themselves
They lost faith in our women
Trust me, I’m the one to judge, can’t stand the way that I’m livin’
We all dream of that perfect place and man, I’m way beyond vision
See, I can hear it, taste it and feel it
The scent of it is so potent
Perfect like your first love before your heart was broken
Perfect like the sound of crashing waves in the ocean
It’s perfect like the sound of music when you play it while smoking
So many, perfect imperfections in this world, still I love it here
Only 21 and I hope to make it another year
But if not, my soul will be perfectly free
She might not be perfect to you, but man she’s perfect to me
Yours Truly
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
Ain’t nobody perfect
You see, the very end of it
I didn’t know where I was
All I know it was peaceful
Almost like a place nothing could go wrong
A place so perfect
I’ve always imagined a place like this
Ever since I was young, I was
Never really able to sleep
My mom always told me:
“Close your eyes, picture the waves crashing
Imagine yourself there with no worries”
That’s the only thing that ever really helps
So much going on in this world
Sometimes I wonder if we were able to think our
Own heaven into existence
What would mine be like?
Well, I think I finally found it
Better yet, I think it’s been with me all along

I think gratitude has been with me all along, so thanks to all who helped me create this post today and — of course! — to YOU, for making my world more perfect.

fullsizeoutput_385a

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

Day 2334: How many brains do you have?

According to this book I’m reading …

IMG_4254

fullsizeoutput_3855

Humans have four brains! What are we doing with them, these days?

Here are four human quotes about brains from Brainy Quotes:

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. — Dalai Lama

The human brain works as a binary computer and can only analyze the exact information-based zeros and ones (or black and white).  Our heart is more like a chemical computer that uses fuzzy logic to analyze information that can’t be easily defined in zeros and ones. — Naveen Jain

I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.  — Dr. Suess

The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it’s so great, because for a little bit I’m out of my brain, and it’s got nothing to do with me. I’m not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness.  — Chris Evans

All of my brains noticed these images yesterday:

IMG_4266

I hope some of your brains know that you can click on any of those images to enlarge them, if your heart wants to.

Here’s something that came up on YouTube when I searched for “Humans have four brains.”

All my brains loved hearing this tune yesterday:

I wonder if any of your brains want to leave a comment.

My brains always want to express gratitude at the end of every post, to all the brains who helped me create it and all the brains that are reading it, here and now.

IMG_4258

IMG_4219

IMG_4132

 

 

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2333: Trust is …

Trust is  …

IMG_4251

Intelligence and integrity tell me that trust is many different things to many different people.

Trust is something I felt yesterday, when I walked near our home during the day and then performed two of my original songs at an Open Mic in Boston in front of a very noisy, post-Boston Marathon crowd.

IMG_4233

fullsizeoutput_3853

IMG_4235

IMG_4236

IMG_4237

IMG_4238

IMG_4239

fullsizeoutput_3851

fullsizeoutput_3852

IMG_4242

 

IMG_4245

fullsizeoutput_3850

IMG_4250

 

Trust is important  if you perform in front of people.

Trust is part of expressing gratitude, so I trust you will accept my thanks for visiting my blog, here and now.

IMG_4230

 

 

Categories: original song, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2332: You Call The Shots

Every day, in this blog, I call the shots.  That is, I decide

  • what shots to take with my iPhone,
  • what order to share them in,
  • what words to write,
  • what audio/video piece (usually involving music) fits the topic, and
  • how to express my gratitude.

People with my Myers Briggs type (ENFP) like calling the shots and being independent. However, we don’t like calling the shots for other people or other people calling the shots for us.  Therefore, I don’t like when people tell me what to do and I don’t like telling other people what to do.  Rather, I prefer suggestion, invitation, and possibility — leaving room for me and others to decide what’s best.

Here and now, I suggest that you call the shots you like best in my photos from yesterday.

IMG_4226

IMG_4220

 

IMG_4222

IMG_4223

IMG_4224

IMG_4225

IMG_4221

IMG_4227

fullsizeoutput_384c

IMG_4231

IMG_4229

Sometimes I take shots of and take shots at things I just don’t understand.

Girls Aloud “Call the Shots” here:

 

Tonight I’ll be a girl aloud calling the shots at a new Open Mic, singing two of my original songs.

Now I invite you to call the shots in the comment section, below.

As usual, I’m calling the shots on how to express my gratitude to all who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

IMG_4230.JPG

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 2331: ASK FOR HELP!

Last week, somebody who was joining my Coping and Healing groups said to me, “I have trouble asking for help.” I hope it helped when I replied, “You’re not alone.  Many other people in the groups also struggle with asking for help.”

Yesterday morning, when I was writing my second Letter from the President for the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy (NSGP) newsletter, my boyfriend Michael started talking in his sleep.  Michael sometimes talks in his sleep in the mornings, but I can never hear what he’s saying. It doesn’t help that he mumbles while sleep-talking.  Yesterday, he said

Don’t (…unintelligible mumbling…)    ASK FOR HELP!!

“ASK FOR HELP!” was so loud and clear that it startled me and the cats. Inspired by that message from the sleeping Michael, I immediately sent my latest version of my Letter from the President to a helpful friend and NSGP board member, and asked for her help in reviewing what I’d written.  It really helped that I asked for help that way, because (1) she was very positive and helpful in her feedback and (2) this morning I restarted my computer and would have completely lost all my latest work if I hadn’t sent her that draft.

As Michael said, ASK FOR HELP!

I heard “ASK FOR HELP!” in my head yesterday  as I looked for helpful images to capture and share. You don’t have to ask me to include them here and now.

IMG_4197

IMG_4199

IMG_4198

IMG_4201

IMG_4203

IMG_4206

IMG_4207

IMG_4208

IMG_4209

IMG_4210

IMG_4211

IMG_4212

IMG_4217

fullsizeoutput_384a

Right before I took that last photo, I heard many cat noises coming from inside our house, so I asked for Michael’s help in identifying them.  Since I asked for help, he showed me this video:

Those hungry cats were asking for help, and they got it.

After our long walk near the seashore yesterday, I received an email about Open Mic’s around Boston.  Because it helps to practice my original songs, I asked for help in signing up for a slot tomorrow night.

Last night, Michael and I had dinner with my friend and co-worker Alice and her husband  (not pictured).  I said, “I think Alice and I have the female equivalent of a bromance.  I wonder what that’s called?” Later, I asked for help in identifying that term.  Would you like to ask for help in discovering what that word is?

It’s “womance.”

If you have trouble sharing your thoughts and feelings in a comment below, ASK FOR HELP!

Every day, I ask for help in expressing my gratitude to all those who help me create these posts and — of course! — to YOU.

IMG_4202

IMG_4219.JPG

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2330: Many faces

Face it, I’ve written many blog posts about faces during these many year(s) of living non-judgmentally. I think and write so much about faces because our experiences of faces are vitally important to human beings as we develop and grow.

Yesterday, I was facing more thoughts about faces as I faced another day at work, where I  face a variety of expressive faces in individual and group therapy. I thought about faces I saw when I was young — loving faces, anxious faces, and angry faces — and how I tried to make sense of all the faces of human interaction.  I know that the loving faces helped me feel safe and secure, the anxious faces taught me to be cautious and careful, and the angry faces  eventually invited me to realize that people have a wide range of feelings.

As I thought about faces throughout the day, I noticed many faces around me.  What do you see in the faces in my photos?

IMG_4173

IMG_4174

IMG_4175

IMG_4176

IMG_4177

IMG_4178

IMG_4179

IMG_4180

IMG_4183

 

IMG_4181

IMG_4182

IMG_4185

IMG_4184

 

IMG_4190

IMG_4191

IMG_4195

IMG_4196

What we see in faces is often influenced by what we saw in the faces of our childhood.  However, we can learn to see faces in new, more expansive, and less restrictive ways.

Here‘s “Ooh La La” from a Faces reunion concert:

 

As those Faces sing:  “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.”

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

Thanks to the great faces who helped me face and create today’s blog post and — of course! — thanks to YOU.

IMG_3767

 

 

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

Blog at WordPress.com.