Day 2235: Dream Builders

Are you a dream builder?  Do you allow yourself to dream, nourish those dreams, and take steps to make your dreams come true?

Throughout my life, I’ve worked on discovering and building my dreams, including finding my dream job as a group therapist and also  returning to Disney World this week with people I love.  The workers at Disney World see themselves as Dream Builders, as you can see in this sign:

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Like Walt Disney, I’ve wanted to do things; I wanted to build things, to get something going, so let’s get this post going, shall we?  Peeking up over that good kind of  wall is the symbol of Disney World’s Epcot — the Geodesic Sphere that houses the attraction “Spaceship Earth.”  Yesterday, my son Aaron and my niece Victoria, who has this tattooed on her ankle ….

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… rode through Spaceship Earth twice, the second time choosing French as their language.

Do you see any dreams being built in these other photos?

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Everybody’s dreams are different. For my boyfriend, Michael, Disney World might be his worst nightmare, so I doubt I’ll build any dreams of us visiting here together in the future. Michael, who stayed behind in our dream home near Boston, loves raccoons, so I told him I’d include these photos in my blog today:

Here’s my favorite ride at Epcot:

That video doesn’t capture the full experience of “Soarin,” which allows me to fulfill a childhood dream of flying wherever I want to go, like Peter Pan (which I’ve previously blogged about here and here).   I dream that you all get to witness the spectacular things the dream builders have created here at Epcot, if that is indeed your dream, too.

What dreams are you building, these days?

It’s also a dream, for me, that I get to build a new blog post every day, which is read by all of YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2234: When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do

If you’re curious, I had two other possible titles for today’s post, which shows lots of interesting things and people on our trip today to Disney World.  The other two titles were

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“Live This Moment” or

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“How to Get Around,” but then I saw this perfect quote by Walt Disney:

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Curious to find lots of interesting things in my other photos from yesterday?

 

If you’re curious about any of those photos, you can click on them to make them larger.

I was curious about this hat

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because Mickey looks angry, and I’m not used to seeing that.  When I discussed this with an interesting “cast member” at a cash register, we agreed that Mickey, like the rest of us, is allowed to have all his feelings, including anger.

I’m looking forward to doing all sorts of interesting things today, wearing that hat.

If you’re curious about today’s tune, it’s NOT the song I wrote on the plane ride from Boston to Orlando (“What Are Other People Thinking About  You?”).  Instead, it’s “It’s a Small World.”

I’m curious about whether you watched the whole ride and about whatever feelings you’re having, in this moment.

If you’re curious, I’m feeling extreme gratitude for where I am, whom I’m with, and for my readers!

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

Day 2233: Hot damn!

Hot damn!

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I’m going to Disney World, I am.

Hot damn!

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I’m going with my son Aaron’s fam.

Hot damn!

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Am I color-blind, ma’am?

Hot damn!

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Follow your heart and be happy as a clam.

Hot damn!

Listen to The Haggis Horns jam!

Hot damn! My thanks are no sham nor scam.

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Hot dog or damn! To Orlando I must scram.

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

Day 2232: Who is your harshest critic?

For years, I would have answered the question, “Who is your harshest critic?” like so:

“It’s me.”

Many of the people I work with in therapy also say that they are their own harshest critics. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, and other proven techniques, we acknowledge the harm of that harsh criticism and reduce its toxicity.

There are times in my life when my answer to the question, “Who is your harshest critic?” would be, “It’s not me.”  I remember, decades ago, when I agonized over whether to leave my job as a writer at a technology company, which had not worked out as I expected.  I said many harshly critical things to myself  (including “you make terrible decisions!”  “what makes you think you’ll find a better job?”)  as I went through the  painful process of pros and cons about staying or leaving.  One of the obvious advantages of leaving was that I did not respect management at that company, so  I did end up resigning. Before I left,  one of the top managers said harsh things to me, including labeling me “a quitter” and somebody not capable of sticking to things that are challenging and difficult.  Once this man externalized my internal harsh criticism, I was able to recognize the unfairness in his reaction, stand up straight, look him in the eye, and say, “That’s not true. I’m leaving because I know I can be happier elsewhere.”

I’ll never forget how good that felt — to directly confront those harsh messages and say, “That’s not true.”

Since becoming a therapist, I’ve done a therapeutic exercise in groups where people write down their harsh internal criticisms and we externalize them.  Somebody in the group reads the harsh critical statement out loud, and the person gets a chance to respond back, sometimes being coached by others.  It’s always inspiring to witness people challenge their internalized harsh critics, replacing those old and toxic messages with more accepting and helpful ones.

Last night, when I performed my latest original song, “It’s Not Me,” about a toxically critical person, I became my harshest critic, again. For one thing, I went on immediately after the featured performer,  a 13-year-old prodigy “– The Mighty Quinn”  — who blew out the joint with his fiddle playing and his singing.  Here’s a photo of Quinn and his father:

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They were the proverbial tough act to follow.  I considered saying, “Let’s hear it for my opening act!” before I started performing, but I harshly criticized that and said something else instead.  As I started playing,  I realized that my ukulele was out of tune. I blanked on something I wanted to say,  and I didn’t like that I needed to use a cheat sheet to remember some of the chords and words.  After I finished,  I sat down, ignoring the applause and the positive comments from people in the audience, listening, instead,  to my harsh inner critic.

I then asked my new co-worker and friend, Alice (who is also a musician), whether she felt bad when her performances weren’t up to her own standards. She said many supportive things, including, “I think you’ll feel better when you watch the recording.”

And, when I watched the recording later, I did feel better. I let go of the role of my own harshest critic and, as always, it felt great! Here‘s the recording, which Alice made:

When I watch this, I use one of my helpful phrases: “It’s good enough AND I can make it better.”

In the past, I’ve been the harshest critic of my blog writing and my photographs, like these:

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For now,   I’m celebrating not being my own harshest critic.

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course — to YOU, for your kind acceptance (of me and yourself) (I hope!)

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 2231: Where things end up

Since everything is a process and because people and situations are continually changing and growing, we never know where things will end up.

I ended up, yesterday, thinking that “Where things end up” was a good title for the photos I ended up taking.

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No matter what’s ending up around you, I think curiosity is a good place to end up (and begin with, too).  Also, people often end up making “pros and cons” lists of different possibilities in my office, to help them decide where they want to end up.

This evening, I’ll end up debuting my latest original song, “It’s Not Me,” at a local Open Mic, where I’ve ended up before. Because, for now, I don’t have a recording of “It’s Not Me” that I know how to share, I’m ending up sharing the Fats Domino song “Walking” (which I saw a sign about when I was ending up my walking last night).

The real title of that song ended up being “I’m Walking.” Also, I’m ending up wondering if this is the Fats Domino song on the hotel sign:

Comments end up being at the end of this post, below.  I wonder how many comments I’ll end up with.

As always, I end up these blog post with thanks to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2230: What’s yours/What’s not yours

What’s your understanding of today’s post title: “What’s yours/What’s not yours”?

Yesterday, one of “my” therapy groups decided to focus on that topic after several of the participants had described challenges with other people in their lives.  The group members found it useful to make a list of what was theirs on one side of a paper and a list of what was NOT theirs on the other side.

Here are my lists:

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Because of confidentiality, I would never share a list that was not mine. However, I did “steal” some of the ideas from other people’s lists, because I found they also applied to my life.

The photos in this blog post are mine. However, they show some things that are not mine.   And once I share them, are they mine, yours, or ours?

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That microphone is not mine.  It belongs to my son’s friend, Leo, who has been staying with us.  Last night, Leo ,Aaron, and Leo’s microphone helped me record all my original songs, using Apple’s GarageBand.

It was my intention to share, here and now,  the recording of my latest song, “It’s Not Me.” However, it’s not mine to share, at this point.  Instead, it’s my prerogative to share “My Prerogative,” which is not mine and is Bobby Brown‘s.

Whose turn is it to express thoughts and feelings?  It’s yours.

It’s my choice to end each blog post with gratitude, including thanks to YOU.

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

Day 2229: For now

For now, there’s only one other post I’ve written with the same title as today’s post. (For now, I believe that 2017 post has some useful information in it. For now, you can click on that link to read it.)

For now, today’s post is the only one which also has a photo of “For now.”

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For now, I’m not sure what a “retail incubator” is, but I can show you my other New Year’s Day photos of the Seaport District  of Boston (and, for now, this is the best article I’ve found online about “the hottest neighborhood in town“).

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For now, I have more must-dos for today’s blog.   For now,

  • somebody I’ve known for years is not speaking to me,
  • I’m President of a local professional organization of group psychotherapists,
  • with great power comes great responsibility (I saw the new Spider-Man movie at the Seaport District theater yesterday),
  • I haven’t experienced the full glory of the new Spider-Man movie yet, because a fire alarm screwed up the theater’s computer system and the house lights stayed on for most of the film,
  • I’m  writing a new original song every month,
  • I haven’t made any high quality recordings of any of my songs,
  • I’m still waiting to hear back from the Edinburgh Free Fringe about my show proposal, even though their last email to me three weeks ago said somebody would get back to me “in a few days” and I’ve written them again asking for a response,
  • I’m feeing better about not hearing back now that I’ve read that Edinburgh Free Fringe link, above, and seen that  “our main programming decisions [will be] taking place from the end of January and through February and March”,
  • my son is in Boston on Christmas vacation from University,
  • I haven’t started packing for our Disney World trip this weekend,
  • I feel tired when I walk up stairs, and
  • I have more pictures to share from yesterday.

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For now, there is still plenty left of the best tuna noodle casserole I’ve ever had in my life. For now, I can assume that Michael meets the two criteria I had established for a future boyfriend when I was 10 years old: That my boyfriend love cats and tuna noodle casserole. For now, I’m actually not sure that Michael loves tuna noodle casserole, but he certainly helps me to keep my tuna casserole love alive.

For now, this the best “For Now” song I can find, from the musical Avenue Q.

For now,

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and see you tomorrow.  And for all those who helped me create today’s blog post and for all those who are reading this, thanks for now and beyond!

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 2228: Sunny skies

On this first day of 2019, there are sunny skies in Boston.

There were also sunny skies on the last day of 2018, when I noticed this:

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“Sunny skies” is the name of the pen my boyfriend Michael gave me for Christmas.

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Have you ever noticed that when you look for sunny skies, you can find them, even when you’re indoors?

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An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities to see sunny skies wherever you go.

While I had an attitude of gratitude about Michael’s gift of the sunny skies pen, I couldn’t resist sending him this video, featuring  John Cusack under some unsunny skies in Say Anything… and Grosse Pointe Blank. (Warning: contains a scene of pen-related violence.)

 

There are also  sunny skies in this video that automatically started playing after that one  — “Top 10 Unexpected Dance Scenes in Non-Dance Movies.”  Dance scenes help me feel sunny, no matter what the weather.

 

There are also sunny skies in this forecast for our upcoming trip to Disney World, sent yesterday by my sunny niece Laura.

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More sunny skies: these four photos always pop up first whenever I try to access my latest images on my laptop.  I don’t know why, but I’m glad to share them with you today.

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Again, an attitude of gratitude brings sunny skies, so sunny thanks to all who helped me create this first-of -2019 blog post and — of course! — to YOU.

 

 

 

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

Day 2227: Personal 10 Best and Worst of 2018

Because I think New Year’s resolutions can be the worst, my best way of  marking the New Year is to compile my personal 10 Best and 10 Worst lists for the year.  What’s best about that ritual is that it allows me to look back over the past year in a useful way, getting some closure as we move into the brand new year.

Because I don’t want to dwell on the worst, I think it’s best that I share only my personal 10 Best of 2018 (in alphabetical order):

Aaron

Blogging

Friends

Groups

Health of those I love

Home near the ocean

Iceland/Edinburgh trip

Michael

Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy (inc. becoming President)

Original songs

There were so many bests this year,  the cats didn’t even make it on the list.  Although, maybe it’s best that I include them in the “Health of those I love” or in “Friends.”

Here are my best and worst photos from yesterday:

If you can’t read any of those photos, it’s best that you click on them to enlarge.

My son Aaron thinks that the first song I wrote is still my best.  Here it is:

I don’t know if I agree that “I Don’t Like You” is my best, but it’s certainly not my worst.

If you want to share your personal  best and/or worst of 2018, it’s best you do so in the comments section, below.

Every time I post, I do my best to thank all who help me blog every day and — of course! — YOU.  Happy New Year!

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Categories: original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 2226: Framed

One of my favorite bloggers, Christopher, included this in his comment on my “Who is It?” post yesterday:

It looks like you’ve been framed.

Soon after Christopher framed that comment, my dear cousin Lani brought over this perfectly framed house warming present:

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The cats that are framed in that cat frame gift set look like our cat Oscar and the late, lamented Milo.  I wonder what photos will be framed in those frames in the future?

Here are the rest of the photos I framed with my iPhone yesterday.

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Here‘s a photo of Lani I framed with my  iPhone over three years ago:

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That’s Lani in the frame with her late, precious kitty, Jewel. As Lani and I framed many thoughts and feelings yesterday, she said she’s almost ready to consider getting another cat.  I framed a request that Lani include me in her search for a new kitty, when she’s ready.

In Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we talk about reframes, defined here.

Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.

I’ve also experienced people reframing events, ideas, concepts, and emotions to find more negative alternatives.  In those cases, people might feel framed, like The Coasters describe in “Framed.”

I’m looking forward to the comments framed by my readers about this post.

Now it’s time for me to frame my thanks to all those who helped me frame this “Framed” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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