Day 2510: Compassion

In yesterday’s Coping and Healing group, the members chose to focus on the topic of “Compassion.”

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What is your personal experience of compassion?  What gets in the way of you experiencing compassion?  How could you bring more compassion into your life?

In my responses to those questions about compassion, I mentioned self-compassion and also this song:

I had the compassion, just now, to choose a version of “Shower the People” by James Taylor that includes lyrics and which (I think!) is accessible to all my readers.

Here are some quotes about compassion:

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
― Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
― Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe“

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
― Aesop

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“Compassion is the basis of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

In the group yesterday, we also discussed the opposite of compassion, which some people thought was  indifference and others thought was cruelty.  Do you see compassion or the opposite of compassion in any of my other photos from yesterday?

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I have compassion for any thoughts or feelings you choose to express in a comment, below.

Thanks to all the compassionate people out there, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2509: Rights

I have the right to start off this blog post by quoting Wikipedia’s definition of rights:

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

Rights are often considered fundamental to civilization, for they are regarded as established pillars of society and culture, and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived”.

I have the right to admit that I don’t know what “deontology” means, and I have the right to free-associate that with dentistry, especially since I’m seeing my wonderful dentist today.

I have the right to practice or not practice any religion, as I choose.  Last night, I had the right to listen to this beautiful rendition of Kol Nidre, which reminds me of how my late father and our synagogue’s choir sang it every Yom Kippur Eve.

I have the right to share all my photos from yesterday in any order I please.

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I had the right to wonder this as I took that last photo: I wonder if I will see those I’ve lost later, after I die.

You have the right to comment or not comment on this post, however you choose.

I have the right to express my thanks and appreciation for all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — for YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2508: Celebrating mistakes

Yesterday, rather than hiding and denying mistakes (like others seem to do), I celebrated my mistakes by owning them, sharing them with others, and learning from them. One of my co-workers — who feels some worry and shame about their mistakes because of inexperience — texted me “You are a gift that keeps giving!” when I shared another mistake I had made.

Unless I am mistaken, I believe you might find some mistakes in some of my photos from yesterday.

Personally, I think it is a mistake to play hide and seek alone.

Let’s celebrate the late Ginger Baker with this video on YouTube (which may include mistakes):

Because I’m creating this post on my iPhone it may include my mistakes fusion mom. Ooops! Let me try that again. Because I’m creating this post on my iPhone, it may include more mistakes than usual.

Ending with gratitude is never a mistake, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! — thanks to you.

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

Day 2507: What’s Keeping Me Up Is What’s Going Down

At around 3:00 AM last night, I was woken up by a crash, like something big had fallen down.

When investigating what had gone down, my fiancé Michael informed me that the beautiful watercolor by Paul Nagano that was hanging up on the wall had gone down. I asked what was uppermost in my mind: “Did it break?”  He said, “No, but these things suck” (referring to the strips that had been keeping that picture up for over a year). 

Now, these thoughts that are going down in my head are keeping me up:

  • How are we going to get that fallen painting back up, now that our faith in those picture hanging strips has gone down?
  • How are we going hang up another wonderful watercolor by Paul Nagano and the amazing photograph my ex-husband recently took of our son Aaron with his large-format camera?
  • Are we the only people who don’t like putting holes in our walls to hang things up?
  • What’s going down in the United States of America?
  • Who’s going to help our fallen principles get back up?
  • Why do all these things get me down and keep me up?
  • Should I write down some lyrics for a country song titled “What’s Keeping Me Up Is What’s Going Down”?

What’s Keep Me Up is What’s Going Down

by Ann Koplow

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

I’m sleepless and helpless and wearing a frown.

Problems unsolvable seem to abound.

What’s keeping me up is what’s going down.

© Ann Koplow, 2019

I’ve now written down lyrics for five songs that are still up in the air — I haven’t completed any of them.  That’s neither keeping me up nor getting me down; I have faith in my own process (even if I’ve lost faith in the process of the people in charge of our country).

Here’s what’s going down in my latest photos:

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If you’re feeling down about what’s going down around you,  maybe one of these Pumpkin Spice songs put up here, here, here, and here on YouTube will cheer you up.

I’m up for whatever comments will be going down, below.

Gratitude helps keep me up no matter what’s going down, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

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

Day 2506: Things organized neatly

Yesterday, after doing neat things  at a Food Truck and Music Festival  organized neatly by Quincy, Massachusetts, my boyfriend Michael and I noticed this neat book at a nearby coffee shop:

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Here’s one of the neat photos in that book:

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When I organize my photographs as neatly as possible for this daily blog, I often have pictures of hearts (as well as other things that are meaningful to me).  Today’s neatly organized things include an homage to my late mother, who was well known for organizing things neatly and whom I  especially miss during this time of the year.

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What are people thinking about those things organized neatly?

Phillip Alexander & the Wild Things (which included a musician from my neatly organized hometown of Swampscott) played this neatly organized song:

That neatly organized building in the background is the Thomas Crane Public Library, by the amazingly neat architect H.H. Richardson.

Here are a few more things organized neatly:

  1. My boyfriend Michael is now my fiancé Michael (which I’ve been hinting at with some neatly organized clues in recent posts).
  2. I wish that my neatly organized mother and my neatly hilarious father could have met my neat and hilarious fiancé.
  3. Michael meets two of the criteria I neatly organized for a husband when I was ten years old: he loves cats and tuna noodle casserole.
  4. Actually, Michael might like rather than love tuna noodle casserole, but he makes a neatly organized tuna noodle casserole that’s at least as good  as the tuna noodle casserole made by my neatly organized mother.

I look forward to some neatly organized comments, below.

As always, I end with some neatly organized gratitude to all who help me create these daily blogs, including YOU.

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

Day 2505: What are they thinking?

When I look at the news these days, I’m often thinking, “What are they thinking?”

I don’t know what they are thinking and I don’t know what the audience was thinking, last night, about my latest performance of my original song, “What Are Other People Thinking About You?”  

What are they thinking?  Can you tell?

One person expressed his thinking to me immediately after my performance, “That was a very precocious song.”

I expressed my thinking with this reply: “How can somebody of my age be precocious?”

He didn’t answer that question, so I have no idea what he was thinking about that. Instead, he asked if I was a teacher and said, “That was very brave.”

As I say in my song, “What are other people thinking about you?  Face it, we can never know for sure. So why not think they’re thinking that you’re gorgeous, talented, smart, and secure?”

What are you thinking about that and about this photo from yesterday?

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I’m thinking that my little yellow car is okay, because it started up fine all day. I don’t know what it was thinking when it refused to start up the night before.

I don’t know what my laptop and my iPhone are thinking, as they selectively share the photos I’m taking. I’m thinking it takes more work to get all my photos here these days, but it’s worth it.  Here are more photos from yesterday:

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I don’t know what that dog is thinking but I’m thinking that I love that sticker.

What are you thinking about this blog post?

I’m thinking that it’s time to express my gratitude to everybody who helps me create this daily blog, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, original song, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 2504: There’s a magic about you

My co-worker Alice, who has a magic about her, has this sign about you in her office:

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YOU ARE

UNREPEATABLE.

THERE IS A MAGIC

ABOUT YOU THAT

IS ALL YOUR OWN…

– D. M. DILLINGER

 

Because there’s a car about me that wouldn’t start up in my work garage last night, I’m going to make this post very short.  I’m hoping that the car trouble is unrepeatable but just in case it isn’t,  here are all my other photos from yesterday. Is there a magic about them?

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What’s the magic about you, here and now?

I have magic gratitude about me,  so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to my magic readers.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Day 2503: Dragons, dogs, and ducks

As I described last week in two blog posts (here and here), I’ve been working on reducing the power of a toxic person in my life by reimagining them as a less powerful entity — transforming them in my imagination from a dragon to a little yappy dog.

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Yesterday, I discovered that it also helped to think of this person as an “odd duck” — an image that  I reinforced  by taking pictures of  the various  ducks I encountered during the day.

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Using this online definition of “odd duck” ….

Noun
odd duck (plural odd ducks)

(idiomatic) An unusual person, especially an individual with an idiosyncratic personality or peculiar behavioral characteristics.
Synonyms
odd fish, strange bird, weirdo; see also Thesaurus:strange person

… do you see any evidence of odd ducks in my other photos from yesterday?

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Sting (whose birthday it was yesterday) does not have a song titled “Odd Duck”,  but Björk does.

I’m wondering how many odd comments I’ll get about this “Odd Duck” post.

Duck!  Here comes an odd number of thank you’s to all who helped me create today’s odd-numbered blog post, including YOU!

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 2502: How to feel less anxious

Yesterday morning,  I asked my readers “What are you feeling?”  Later in the day, I learned that everybody in my Coping and Healing group was feeling anxious.

Just in case you’re feeling anxious, here’s the list the group created together about how to feel less anxious.

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I got a little anxious, just now, when I momentarily couldn’t read the last entry in the middle column, above.  I feel less anxious remembering that it says “balloons” —  somebody in the group shared their anxiety-reducing technique of imagining fears attached to balloons that float away.

What would you add to that brainstormed list of “How to Feel Less Anxious”?

Might any of my other photos from yesterday help you feel less anxious?

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Personally, I feel less anxious when I

  • am  all that I can be,
  • own my leadership qualities,
  • imagine new leaders for our country,
  • find the safety in the moment,
  • recognize that everybody has mood swings,
  • show up,
  • am gentle with myself and others,
  • tell the truth,
  • avoid the cognitive distortion of black-and-white (all-or-nothing) thinking by seeing shades of gray,
  • enjoy Michael’s nourishing food,
  • sit outside,
  • wear cool socks,
  • accept that sometimes I’ll be running late,
  • hang around with nice kitties, and
  • share my anxieties (like,now, in this daily blog).

Here‘s a video titled “How to be Less Anxious.”

As I mentioned in group yesterday, one person’s anxiety reducer might be another person’s anxiety increaser, as you can see in these comments about that video:

Maria ER
3 years ago
This video stressed me out

Ian P
3 years ago
I’m not sure ‘the indifference of nature’ is making me feel less anxious, lol.
Laura Thomas
4 years ago
I feel like this isn’t so much about being less anxious as it is about being more mindful. Still good, though.
Survive the Jive
5 years ago
The sea is so primal, even the mountains are younger. It evokes visceral feelings of man in context to the earth. Strange that meditating on the comparative insignificance of our lives to the span of nature should actually be so life affirming.

Ashley Valentin
2 years ago
Reading the comments made me more anxious than the video…

Experiencing and expressing gratitude make me feel less anxious, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2501: What are you feeling?

What are you feeling, dear reader?

Are you feeling curious?

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Are you feeling shy?

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Are you feeling content?

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Confused?  Sad?

 

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Bitchy?

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Conceited?  Forgetful?  Nice?  Sarcastic?

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Exclusive?  Appreciated?

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Valued?  Colorful?

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Different?

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Real?

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Rewarding?  Rewarded?  Hungry?

 

Above it all?

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Determined?

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All of the above?  None of the above?  Some of the above?

Are you feeling any feelings not included here?

What are you feeling about your feelings?

What are you feeling about this song?

Are you feeling ready to express your feelings in a comment below?

What am I feeling, here and now?  I’m feeling many different feelings, including gratitude to YOU.

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Now I feel like saying, “Bye and see you tomorrow!”

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

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