life during the pandemic

Day 2786: Don’t give up

Don’t give up on

  • yourself,
  • other people,
  • animals,
  • nature,
  • human nature,
  • art,
  • creativity,
  • ingenuity,
  • imagination,
  • intuition,
  • resiliency,
  • acceptance,
  • awareness,
  • contemplation,
  • achievable next steps,
  • self-care,
  • care for others,
  • hope,
  • kindness,
  • empathy,
  • the present,
  • the future, or
  • The Daily Bitch Calendar.

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I won’t give up my iPhone, because it lets me easily take photos like these:

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Don’t give up on your ability to perceive.  What do you see in that photo (or any other one)?

Here‘s “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel, featuring Kate Bush:

Don’t give up on future hugs. In the meantime, hug yourself (it helps!).

Don’t give up on gratitude — try to experience and express it, every day.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 2785: A cleaner house

I grew up in a cleaner house than most, because my mother was very clean and neat.

Our house is usually cleaner,  but because our cat Oscar is in the final stages of his life, it’s more of a challenge these days to keep a cleaner house.

Here’s what today’s Daily Bitch Calendar has to say about a cleaner house:

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Here are some recent cleaner family photos from our house:

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I’d rather have our sweet kitty Oscar than a cleaner house.

Here‘s Graham Nash recently performing “Our House,” “Four and Twenty”, and “Teach Your Children”  from his cleaner house:

 

I look forward to comments from your house and here’s gratitude coming at you from our house.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2784: The truth

The truth

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The truth is that I continue to go on walks with my husband and my son, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

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The truth is that our wonderful kitty Oscar is not going to get any better as he spends his final precious days with us.

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The truth is that there are heroes everywhere.

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The truth is that one of my heroes is my husband Michael, who prepares wonderful meals for us.

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The truth is that I also took these photos yesterday:

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The truth is that reminds me of this 11-year-old video of my son Aaron and our cat Oscar:

The truth is that

  • Oscar is a very chill and accepting cat,
  •  I would like to be more like Oscar, and
  • I am very grateful for all who are reading this, including YOU.

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2780: Sunshine and hurricane

The sunshine in my life includes family, friends, my work as a group therapist, cats, music, this blog, humor, nature, good memories, the riches of the present moment, persistent hope about the future, and a helpful stance of curiosity.

The hurricane in my life includes the imminent death of our sweet, plucky, and ailing kitty Oscar; losses of good friends;  bureaucracies; corrupt world leaders; social injustice; the coronavirus pandemic; and yet another taxes-related fiasco (the IRS rejecting our e-filed return yesterday because “your spouse’s birthday doesn’t match the IRS records”).

When I was freaking out and focusing on the hurricane yesterday, my spouse (whose birthday SHOULD match the IRS records!!!!) said to me:

“What is it that you tell your patients?  Nothing is actually hurting you now. I think the taxes glitch will be easily resolved.”

My spouse brings so much sunshine into my life, even during the hurricane.

Do you see sunshine and/or hurricane in these images from July 4, 2020?

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Here‘s Dolly Parton’s  “Jolene” covered by Sunshine and the Hurricane:

What are your thoughts and feelings about sunshine and hurricane?

I like to end every post, no matter what the weather,  with the sunshine of my gratitude for everything, including YOU.

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

Day 2779: Staggering

Our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer, has been staggering, sometimes, when he walks. Otherwise, his appetite is good and he does not seem to be in pain. He continues to be a staggeringly sweet kitty who wants to be close to his family.

It is staggering to me ….

  • What world leaders will do to hold onto power,
  • The increase of coronavirus cases in the United States,
  • That the U.S. President discourages testing and social distancing despite the recommendations of his own staff,
  • How people can ignore facts and science because of fear, anger, and denial,
  • How pernicious white male rage can be,
  • How some people are valued over others,
  • How kind, perceptive, and thoughtful my 22-year old son is,
  • That my son Aaron thinks that people should have the option of euthanasia and animals should be allowed to die naturally,
  • How long the line and wait was yesterday for Aaron to be tested for COVID-19,
  • How quickly we got the good test results,
  • How beautiful the South Shore of Boston is,
  • How everything my husband Michael cooks is so delicious, and
  • How great it is when the whole family is in the house.

Do you see anything staggering in my photos from yesterday ?

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It is staggering to me that somebody posted a negative comment at the end of this article in the Deseret News starring yours truly.

https://www.deseret.com/platform/amp/indepth/2020/5/31/21264377/coronavirus-anthony-fauci-socks-quarantine-pandemic-covid-19-tees-tshirts-masks-etsy

It is staggering to me that

  • Jennifer Graham, the awesome writer of that article, found me through this blog and
  • the article links to this performance of my original song “Left the House Before I Felt Ready”!

My viewer numbers on YouTube are still less than staggering even after the publication of that story. However, I will keep staggering along in my pursuit of fame and fortune.

In the meantime, I am staggeringly grateful to all who follow me here, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 2778: Troubling Questions

What troubling questions are on your mind, here and now?

My troubling questions include:

  • What do I do about the realities of white supremacy?
  • How do I deal with the realities of the coronavirus?
  • Why is wearing a mask a political issue?
  • What does the American flag even mean these days?
  • How will we know when (and if) to euthanize our cat Oscar, who has cancer?
  • Why am I so worried about making mistakes?
  • Should I go back to being a vegetarian?
  • Why is it so difficult to wait?
  • Why is it so difficult for the human mind to stay in the present moment?
  • Why are people so concerned about their image and how they appear to others?
  • Why is it that when life is more difficult,  people often feel worse about themselves?
  • Why are trauma and abuse so often multi-generational?
  • What do you do when you suspect a friend or colleague is having a mental breakdown?
  • Does power corrupt and does absolute power corrupt absolutely?
  • What is going to happen to nature as the world keeps warming?
  • What kind of world is my 22-year-old son going to live in?
  • Should we try to protect those we love from pain?

Do you see any troubling questions in these recent photos? (And is that a troubling question?)

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If you have any troubling questions about why I have slinkies in my office, see this very early blog post.

Jennifer Eberhardt answers troubling questions about racial bias in this excellent TED talk:

Unquestionably, that is a very important video.

Circling  back to the image that inspired today’s title …

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here is the live studio version of “Cloisonné” from Album Raises New and Troubling Questions by They Might Be Giants:

 

Feel free to raise new and troubling questions or answer any question in a comment, below.

Thanks to all who took the trouble to read this “Troubling Questions” post today, including YOU.

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

Day 2777: Such a sweet ____

Oscar is such a sweet cat …

… that during his last days on earth, all he wants to do is be close to his family.

My husband Michael is such a sweet guy that he is closely watching Oscar and also making delicious meals.

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Living near the ocean is such a sweet respite from worry, fear, and sadness.

 

As discussed in my Coping and Healing group yesterday, throwing a pillow on the floor  …

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…  is such a sweet way to let out anger .

Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar has such a sweet description of feeling like a complete train wreck.

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Here‘s such a sweet rendition by Wynton Marsalis & The Young Stars of Jazz of Duke Ellington‘s “Such Sweet Thunder” (which is such a sweet suite based on the works of William Shakespeare).

That is such a sweet tap dance and such sweet playing!

Asking for feedback is such a sweet way to let people know you care about their thoughts and feelings.

Gratitude is such a sweet way to end any encounter, including a blog post like this one!

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Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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

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