personal growth

Day 2210: The exception that proves the rule

I wonder if this post will be the exception that proves the rule.  In order to know that, we need to know what “the exception that proves the rule” means.

“The exception proves the rule” is a saying whose meaning has been interpreted or misinterpreted in various ways. Its true definition, or at least original meaning, is that the presence of an exception applying to a specific case establishes (“proves”) that a general rule exists. For example, a sign that says “parking prohibited on Sundays” (the exception) “proves” that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule). A more explicit phrasing might be “the exception that proves the existence of the rule.”

An alternative explanation often encountered is that the word “prove” is used in the archaic sense of “test”.[1] Thus, the saying does not mean that an exception demonstrates a rule to be true or to exist, but that it tests the rule. In this sense, it is usually used when an exception to a rule has been identified:[clarification needed] for example, Mutillidae are wasps without wings which cannot fly, and therefore are an exception that proves (tests) the rule that wasps fly. The explanation that “proves” really means “tests” is, however, considered false by some sources.

Does that exceptional definition, from Wikipedia, prove anything?  Maybe we need to know what the rule is, here, before we prove any exception.

One of my rules here is providing some clarity and explanation about why I’m writing each of my daily posts.  Maybe this post will be an exception to that.

Or maybe not.   In narrative therapy, it’s important to identify exceptions to people’s unhelpful, generalized, negative rules about themselves and their lives.  For example, if somebody sees themselves as a loser or a failure, the narrative therapist helps them identify and talk more about the exceptions to that self-defeating rule.

When I hear exceptions outside my therapy office, I sometimes say, “That’s the exception that proves the rule.  Whatever that means.” I’m realizing now that I do know what it means.

Let’s see if any of my photos today illustrate “the exception that proves the rule.”

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Usually we don’t have balloons of woodland creatures in the cafeteria at work.  Yesterday, there was a holiday celebration called “Wintery Woodlands,” where employees received hot chocolate, chocolate-covered pretzels, a calendar, and a lunchbox.  Because I’m exceptionally distracted these days, I left my calendar and lunchbox in the cafeteria. The rule is only one calendar and lunchbox for everyone, so I guess I’m out of luck.

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That’s my new and exceptional co-worker, Alice.  She’s also taking a picture of the wintry woodlands in that photo.  I have a rule, in this blog, of not identifying where I work. I don’t think this photo is an exception to that. (Although I have slipped, one or two times, during the two thousand, two hundred, and ten days of blogging, so I guess those posts are exceptions that prove the rule.)

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I’ve taken a lot of photos of this hotel marquee, but none of them have ever said, “12 Days of Music.”   I am predicting that this photo won’t be the last one that says that. I’ve also included a lot of music in this daily blog, but I don’t remember ever including any punk.  If so, today will be the exception that proves the rule.

Here’s a punk rock cover of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

 

If you usually don’t comment, why not make today the exception that proves the rule?

I’m considering not thanking people at the end of this post (which definitely is a rule at this blog), but some rules I do not want there to be an exception to.  So, exceptional thanks to all those who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! —  to YOU.

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Categories: definition, personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 2209: Everyone

Hi, everyone!

Every one of my photos today could relate to everyone.

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Everyone with a closed heart is driving me crazy.

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That teabag is telling everyone to be kind to everyone else, but to be compassionate to oneself, in every moment.   I hope everyone reading this can do that.

Everyone I know has been been encouraging me to keep writing songs.  Thanks, everyone!  I wrote every one of these words while I couldn’t sleep:

 

Don’t Call Me

Don’t call me too weepy,

too creepy, too sleepy,

too selfish, too giving,

too sensitive from living.

 

Don’t call me too bitchy,

too itchy or twitchy,

too soft or too loud,

too modest, too proud.

 

If you’re gonna type me or hype me,

pigeonhole, assign a role,

Decide I’m a saint or some asshole,

Don’t call me.

 

Don’t call me too funny or too serious

I find it deleterious,

So don’t call me.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

 

How Much Time

How much time do we have with each other?

With a friend, sibling, or mother.

We don’t know,

take it slow,

Let things grow.

 

How much time do we have with each other?

With a partner, child, or a brother.

It won’t last,

The die is cast.

Take it fast.

© Ann Koplow, 2018

 

Every one of those lyrics is mine and every one of those songs is not yet finished.

I’m going to try to memorize every one of my songs before I go to Edinburgh in August.  I’ll let everyone know if I’m doing a show there.

Here’s Van Morrison with Everyone:

 

Every one of the lyrics for Everyone is in the YouTube description, here.

I’m looking forward to everyone’s comments and I’d like to thank everyone who helps me create every one of these daily posts, including everyone who reads them (like YOU).

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Categories: original song, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 2208: I hate myself for _______.

I used to hate myself for this and that, but no more.  Now, I hate it when I hear people say “I hate myself” for anything.

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Yesterday, in my office, somebody said they hated themselves for not being what they used to be.

Have you ever said, “I hate myself” for anything?  I won’t hate you if you share that, below.

I’d hate it if my other photos had any hate in them.

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Hate disrupts the immune system. How can we boost it?  Let’s start with kind words towards ourselves and others.

During this season, I do not hate myself for

Joan Jett hates herself for loving you:

I might hate myself if I forgot to thank all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU, but I doubt it.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2207: More than words

There are more than words in this daily blog — there are often photos, like this one:

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I often see those words, and more, on my commute to work. Here are some words to describe More Than Words.

More Than Words is a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.

There are more than words in this world, even for those of us who depend on words.  There are feelings,

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facial expressions,

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moments of reflection,

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forgiveness,

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consciousness, art,

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human rights,  music,

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and words that evoke more than words in us.

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I have more than words for the International Human Rights Day Celebration that I witnessed last night after work. Here are more photos (and a video) of my co-worker Sterling and his daughter, sharing words and music with us.IMG_1525

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Sterling (a/k/a Steis)  wrote “Lost for Words” after the violent death of a beloved cousin.   There are no words, but Sterling found some, to heal and move on.

If you leave words in a comment below, that is more than enough for me.

My gratitude for those who help me create these daily blog posts and for YOU is more than words can express, but I’ll try.

 

Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2206: How to get back to sleep in the middle of the night

If, like me, you often wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep, try this before you go to bed:

  1. Identify what might preoccupy your mind if you did wake up in the middle of the night (like challenging relationships, unfinished business, politics, heath issues, the holidays, ghosts of the past, the news, an upcoming event, money, food,  your inadequacies, ugliness, global warming, animals, conspiracy theories, etc.).
  2. Write down one achievable action for each one.
  3. If you can’t identify an achievable action, acknowledge that the situation is beyond your control.
  4. Go to sleep.
  5. When you wake up, remember that you’ve got plans that won’t work in the middle of the night, so there’s no need for your brain to engage.
  6. If your awake-in-the-middle-of-the-night brain comes up another issue you didn’t anticipate, put it on the list of “Things to Do Tomorrow.”
  7. Go back to sleep.

I hope none of my recent photos keep you up at night.

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Here‘s something else you can try if you can’t get back to sleep at night:

 

You could also focus on gratitude. Sincerely, gratitude always helps.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, sleep | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2205: Who gives a crap?

Who gives a crap about where today’s blog title came from?

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If you do give a crap, I saw that sign yesterday on the wall of a huge glass-blowing facility called Almost Perfect Glass  in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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There’s my  almost perfect friend, Deb, who was working the annual holiday glass sale at Almost Perfect Glass, which is the home of NOCA Glass School (where Deb has taken many courses, because she gives a crap about glass blowing). Deb and I give a crap about each other and have since we were in our teens. People say we look and act like sisters, and not just because we both wear the same t-shirt (which I gave her years ago because she gave a crap about what it says).

Who gives a crap about any of my other photos from yesterday?

 

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I give a crap about  talent, nature,  mindfulness, and all that’s in your head.

While we all give a crap about what’s important to us,  it also helps to let go of worry, shame, and other crap filling your brain by saying, “Who gives a crap!”

Who gives a crap about this“Who Gives a Crap” song on YouTube?

Who gives a crap about whether Who Gives a Crap is “toilet paper” or “bathroom tissue”?

Thanks to all who helped me create this who-gives-a-crap post and to you — of course! — for giving enough of a crap to read it.

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Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2204: What the hell happened?

What the hell!  Did anybody else have a week where you asked yourself,

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“What the hell happened?”

When you’re talking to somebody on the phone and they’re suddenly not there, do you ask yourself, “What the hell happened?  Did they hang up on me?  Was it something I said? Are they angry? Did their phone lose power? Is the signal week?  Should I call back? Are they calling me back?”

What the hell happened  in these photos?

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What the hell happened in the first photo above and the last one?  First photo: We did a mindfulness exercise in a therapy group last week where we focused on a piece of paper we crumpled  and then unfolded. Last photo: a group calling themselves “Gym Class” performed Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on the Wild Side” at an open mic last night.

What the hell happened last night when I debuted my latest original song, “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” at that same open mic?   See for yourself:

What the hell do you think will happen if you leave a comment?

What the hell happens at the end of my blog posts?

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

Day 2203: Consider the source

Consider the source of today’s post — it’s my blog!  Is that a source you trust, know, can vouch for?  Is it a source that’s helpful, doubtful, consistent, confusing, reliable, familiar, new, or whatever for YOU?

Consider that the source of this post is a discussion earlier this week in a therapy group, where the participants were evaluating negative messages they had heard from others.   When I asked people in the group to consider one of the antidotes to cognitive distortions — Consider the Source — they considered that a helpful cognitive reframe.

Consider the source of this definition of “Consider the Source,”  which is this list of antidotes for unhelpful thoughts.

Consider the Source. If you’re receiving negative, upsetting messages, take a step back and look at where those messages are coming from. Is that source reliable? Is it usually negative? How do other people see that source?  If the source is your own internalized critic, consider that you may be too harsh on yourself.

Consider the source of today’s photos — it’s my iPhone!

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When you consider the source, you might think

  • yippee!
  • hooray!
  • way to go!
  • high five!
  • terrific!
  • you got it!
  • RIGHT!
  • too bad!
  • sorry!
  • try again!
  • not quite!
  • next time!
  • oh well!
  • WRONG!

Here‘s Consider the Source with “Many Words of Disapproval.”

 

Consider leaving a comment, below.

Consider the source of extreme gratitude for all who help create these blogs and for all who read them — it’s me!

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

Day 2202: Conclusions

My conclusion, here and now, is that the definition of “conclusion” includes two very important meanings.

con·clu·sion
/kənˈklo͞oZHən
noun
plural noun: conclusions
1. the end or finish of an event or process.
“the conclusion of World War Two”
synonyms: end, ending, finish, close, termination, windup, cessation
2. a judgment or decision reached by reasoning.
“each research group came to a similar conclusion”
synonyms: deduction, inference, interpretation, reasoning

Sometimes, people reach conclusions (judgments/decisions) that result in the conclusion  (ending/finish) of a pattern of behaviors, a way of thinking,  a relationship, a job, or something else important in their lives.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, participants concluded to write down a list of other people’s harsh and unfair conclusions about them.  At the conclusion of that group exercise, they tore up these internalized negative messages and threw them away.  One person’s conclusion was that the internalized belief that she was trash deserved to be ripped up and tossed in the trash.

Are there any conclusions about or in my photos from yesterday?

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Writing a Killer Conclusion includes many conclusions:

At the conclusion of each blog post, I express gratitude and appreciation to all those who helped me create it and to you — of course! — for reading it.

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Categories: definition, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 2201: Brace yourself …

Brace yourself …

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… for the unexpected, because it’s another day!

Yesterday, I braced myself for being late by foregoing my usual walk and jumping on a shuttle bus that runs between where I park and where I work. When the bus driver saw that I was bracing myself with my ukulele, she asked me to play for the passengers.  I looked around and told people to brace themselves for my singing an original song called “Hidden Thoughts.”  I braced myself for possible annoyance, disapproval, and/or lack of attention from the riders but, instead, the passengers looked up, smiled bracing smiles and even braced themselves to sing along!  As more people got on the bus, I braced myself with more confidence and sang my latest song, “I Left the House Before I Felt Ready” (which I’ll be bracing myself to sing at an Open Mic in two days).  The reactions seemed 100% positive, which helped me brace myself for the rest of the day.

Brace yourself for more photos from me:

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Brace yourself for my final photo, which shows what we did when we ran out of Hanukkah candles yesterday (and were unable to find any replacements at our local store):

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I’ll brace myself for your reactions to seeing birthday candles in that Menorah.

Brace yourself for the day’s musical selection, from Howie Day:

Brace yourself for more bracing thanks from me to all who help me brace myself for the new day by writing this blog and — of course! — to YOU, for reading it.

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

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