Day 2295: Reassuring

I find it reassuring that

  • I’m pretty sure I know how to spell “reassuring,”
  • so many people read and comment about my blog,
  • I have life-long friends like Barbara, whose birthday was yesterday,
  • even though my son, Aaron, tells me I need more reassuring than most people, I’m getting better and better at reassuring myself,
  • I’m not freaking out about tax season this year,
  • I’m not stressing about a presentation next week, and
  • at two thousand two hundred and ninety-five consecutive blog posts, I can still find post titles I haven’t used before, like “Reassuring.”

What do you find reassuring?

Shall we see if there’s anything reassuring in my photos from yesterday?  Sure!

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It’s reassuring to me and probably to her therapy patients that my co-worker Alice has so many stress balls in her office.

Here‘s a playlist  on YouTube titled “Hopeful Reassuring Songs.”

It’s reassuring that there are almost fifty songs on that playlist, including “All Will Be Well,” “There’s Nothing Wrong with You” and “Brave.”

It would be reassuring to me if you left a comment, but please do whatever is reassuring for you.

Reassuring thanks to all who helped me create this reassuring post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2294: What’s Working and What’s Not Working?

Yesterday, when people were working in a therapy group, somebody suggested that we make lists of “What’s Working?”  and “What’s Not Working?”

It works for me that the lists of “What’s Working?” were usually bigger than the lists of “What’s Not Working?”

Here’s my list of “What’s Not Working?”

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There was too much on my list of “What’s Working” to capture completely in this photograph:

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It works in my groups for people to “steal” other people’s ideas. I stole a lot of that “What’s Working?” list from the group members.

What’s working and what’s not working in the rest of my photos from yesterday?

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What’s working and what’s not working for you, here and now?

Here‘s the “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted.

It’s working for me to end this post now, because I have to go to work.  Thanks to all who helped me make this “What Working and What’s Not Working?” post work and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2293: Too little, too much, just right.

I have too little time this morning to write my daily blog post, because I got too much sleep last night.  I hope this post and the rest of my morning turns out just right.

Yesterday, in a therapy group, someone talked about the fear of being “too much” for others — afraid that others would have too little patience to deal with  too much moodiness, neediness, intimacy, fear, and imperfection.

I’ve probably said too much in my groups about people being afraid of being or saying too much or too little. People seem to have too little capacity to recognize that they’re just right.

Do you see too little or too much in my photos from yesterday?

If those photos are too little, you can make them larger without too much effort — just click on them.

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for being just right.

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

Day 2292: The Heart of the Matter

I don’t have much time to blog this morning, so allow me to immediately get to the heart of the matter.

Last week at a group therapy conference in the heart of Los Angeles, I heard a wonderfully skilled and compassionate group therapist suggest something that mattered a lot to me —   if somebody is telling a long story in group which is taking people out of the here-and-now,  the facilitator can interrupt to ask, “What is the heart of the matter?”

Yesterday, in my first therapy group after my return to Boston, I told the members what I had learned about inviting people to go to the heart of the matter. That touched people’s hearts, in the moment, and deepened the experience of the group.

Do you see the heart of the matter in my photos from yesterday?

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Usually, it matters to me that I completely erase the white board  in preparation for other meetings in that room.  Yesterday, I left “The Heart of the Matter” on that white board for other hearts to experience.

Here‘s “The Heart of the Matter,” by Don Henley, live at Farm Aid:

 

The heart of the matter is that I am unbelievably grateful to all who help me create these posts and to you — of course! — for reading them.

 

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

Day 2291: Unbelievable

It’s unbelievable that I’ve never written an “unbelievable” post before, especially during these unbelievable times.

Would you believe me if I shared what inspired today’s unbelievable post?

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That unbelievable scale was on my office white board to greet me on my return back to work yesterday after an unbelievable week in Los Angeles.

It’s unbelievable to me that there are so many new friends out there for me to meet. Here’s an email exchange I had with my new friend Don (featured in this unbelievable blog post from two days ago):

Ann,

It was great meeting you last evening at Dynasty! I hope you had a great and safe journey home!

Here is a link to download your set from The Tomorrow Show.

Let me know when you have it downloaded properly and that t works for you, as I’ll have to clear that space on my Box Drive.

I’m excited to start reading your blog too. You gave me a lot of good stuff to think about yesterday!

All the best,
Don

 

Don!
Thank you so much for sending this and for your kindness and welcoming good nature yesterday. I am home safe and sound if somewhat psychotically overtired.  I believe I did download the video properly  so feel free to delete it.  And here is my blog post for today with a proper photo of you:
All the best,
Ann

 

Ann,

I’m glad you made it home safely, albeit filled with psychotic fatigue! I’m honored I made your blog!

FYI Adrian and the other folks also remarked that you were an awesome lady so feel free to be flattered (but don’t let it go to your head)!

All the bestest foreverest and stay in touch!

Don

 

These days I’m letting compliments go to my head and I would advise you to do the same, my awesome new friend.

All the best,
Ann

 

Well, you are a professional so that’s sound advice!
Best,
Don

 

I wonder if Don, if he does read this blog, will find it unbelievable that I shared our email exchange. I’m doing so because I find it unbelievable that people worry about compliments going to people’s heads (including their own). I will repeat that unbelievable advice for you, here and now: please let compliments go to your head. It’s unbelievable, to me, that believing compliments can harm our heads in any way.

Let’s see if there’s anything unbelievable in the  new photos I am sharing with you today.

 

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That unbelievable list of topics was written by an unbelievable social work intern named Nat who facilitated my Thursday evening therapy group while I was away.  Nat is an intern with unbelievable therapy skills and also an unbelievable song-writer and musician.  I asked Nat if he would co-write an unbelievable song with me titled “Nobody’s Perfect,” which we are going to rehearse and perform at next month’s open mic.  Unbelievable!

Here‘s “Unbelievable” by EMF:

 

Here’s “Unbelievable” by Owl City featuring Hanson:

 

It’s unbelievable that I can’t figure out which Hanson is featured in that second song.

Many people are finding it unbelievable that Luke Perry died yesterday at age 52.What’s unbelievable to you, here and now?

If you find it unbelievable that I am grateful, day after day, to all those who help me write these unbelievable blog posts and  grateful to those who read them (including you), believe it, baby!

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

Day 2290: Love Letters

Today’s blogging love letter is inspired by a lovely conversation with loving WordPress blogger Debra, whom I loved meeting in Los Angeles on Friday. I told Debra that my son, Aaron, whom I love, does not read my blog and how he has told me that he will read all the letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs in my blog after I die.

I told Debra that I love that, because after I’m gone Aaron will discover that this blog is “a love letter to him, as well as to many others.”

In this daily blog, over the past six years, I have written love letters to

  • my son Aaron,
  • my boyfriend Michael,
  • my sister Ellen,
  • my parents,
  • my therapy groups,
  • group therapy,
  • my readers,
  • my ex-sister-in-law Deborah,
  • my ex-sister-in-law Diane,
  • my other ex-in-laws (including my nieces Laura, Julie, and Victoria)
  • my sister-in-law Linda,
  • my cousin Lani,
  • my friend Barbara,
  • my friend Deb,
  • my friend Carol,
  • my friend Jeanette,
  • friends and ex-college-roommates Marcia and Maria,
  • my friends Janet and Ray,
  • my friend Megan,
  • my friend Janis,
  • my friend Dave,
  • my friend Lawry,
  • my friend Eleanor,
  • my friend Arnie,
  • my friend Peggy,
  • My friend Kathy,
  • My friend Jenn and her family,
  • My Scottish heart sisters Vicki and Andrena,
  • my son Aaron’s friends,
  • my co-worker Alice,
  • other co-workers (past and present),
  • my ex-neighbor Karen,
  • my dentist,
  • healers,
  • school friends,
  • childhood friends,
  • children of all ages,
  • fellow bloggers I’ve met including Mark Bialczak, Lisa from Daily Musings,  Val Boyko from Find Your Middle Ground,  and the aforementioned Debra from breathelighter,
  • fellow bloggers I haven’t met (yet),
  • blogging,
  • my high school classmates including Jean and Beth,
  • my old schools,
  • my old business partner Jonathan,
  • Ron Lynch,
  • Dr. Neil Portenza/Josh Ladgrove,
  • Irv Yalom,
  • Pat Metheny,
  • Lyle Mays,
  • Michael Brecker,
  • Jean-Luc Ponty,
  • Jaco Pastorius,
  • Miles Davis,
  • Stephen Sondheim,
  • Gene Kelly and other dancers,
  • Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, and other singer-songwriters,
  • Mel Brooks and other film-makers,
  • Jackie Chan,
  • Walt Disney,
  • Jane Austen and other writers,
  • other celebrities,
  • people with unusual hearts,
  • musicals,
  • movies,
  • television shows,
  • jazz,
  • strangers I’ve met who have immediately become less strange,
  • Boston, Massachusetts,
  • the North Shore of Boston,
  • the South Shore of Boston,
  • South Carolina,
  • Panama,
  • Iceland,
  • Edinburgh,
  • the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,
  • the ocean,
  • my hair artiste MiAlisa,
  • my car mechanics,
  • my car,
  • my medical doctors and other treaters,
  • group therapy professional organizations,
  • comedy,
  • comedians,
  • music,
  • musicians,
  • writers,
  • other creative types,
  • our cats,
  • dogs,
  • animals,
  • nature,
  • happy people,
  • people in pain,
  • all the different human emotions,
  • languages,
  • words and definitions,
  • signs,
  • certain letters of the alphabet, and
  • many other inspiring and/or ordinary subjects and objects.

I sometimes love linking to past blog posts and sometimes I don’t, especially when my love letter list is so long! I also don’t love leaving people off of loving lists, so I may be adding more love letters to this post, later.

What love letters are you writing these days?

I should write love letters to Ron Lynch for inviting me to warm up the crowd last night at his Tomorrow! show in L.A. and also to Don for sending me the video, as promised.

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

Love letters to all  who helped me create today’s blogging love letter and — of course! — to YOU, my lovely and loving readers.

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

Day 2289: Every object has a story

I hope you don’t object to the idea that every object has a story, including all the objects in the photos I took during the last day and night of my week-long visit to Los Angeles:

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I go for days like yesterday, with many objects having interesting stories (did you notice that the popcorn at Dynasty Typewriter had the story that it was “world famous?”)

Last night, I shared stories with the object of my long-time admiration, affection, and gratitude, Ron Lynch.

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I don’t think other comedians would object to my describing Ron as a comedian par excellence and the host of the  Tomorrow!, show, now at L.A.’s Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth. I didn’t object when Ron asked me to warm up the audience last night at Tomorrow! last night, so I performed my original song with the perhaps objectionable title “I Don’t Like You.” 

Don, one of the guys working the show last night …

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…. didn’t object to capturing the story of my performance with his cell phone. The story Don gave me is that he is going to send me the video of that performance soon.

My story right now is that I am exhausted from my early morning flight back to Boston, so I’ll have more stories tomorrow.  I look forward to the objects of your stories in the comments section, below.

I will now end this post with objective and subjective gratitude to Ron,  Irv Yalom (who was interviewed via Skype on the last day of the American Group Psychotherapy Association conference), the Westin Bonaventure Hotel,  Dynasty Typewriter, Don, the other people at Tomorrow! last night,  the city of Los Angeles, the L.A. Central Library, Ron’s and his girlfriend Shelly’s  Corgi-mix dog (an object of three of the photos above), every other person, animal, location, and object who helped me with today’s blogging story, and — I hope you don’t object to being last on this long list of thanks — YOU!

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

Day 2288: Open

As you open today’s daily blog, what are you open to? Are you open to new information?  Challenges to your assumptions?  Dissenting and different opinions? Difficult experiences?  Transforming old and unhelpful patterns of thoughts and behaviors?  Balancing your needs with other people’s needs? Self care and care for others? Whimsy? Wonder? Curiosity? Trying new things?

Yesterday, I was open to meeting wonderful WordPress blogger Debra in Los Angeles during an opening in my group therapy conference schedule.  We were both open to hugging each other, even though we had never met outside the blogosphere before. Debra brought me a present which I was happy to open and we were both open to accepting help from a stranger to take a photo. We  talked about the importance of remaining open to  multitudes of opportunity for change and growth throughout our lives.  I opened up with Debra and told her that I look for the word “open” when I’m open to capturing images with my camera.

After I met Debra, I was open to attending the Friday night dance of dozens of group therapists at the conference I’m attending. I expected to be too exhausted to stay long, but I love to dance, so I was open to getting on the dance floor when invited.  I was open to the surprising realization that I was able to keep up with the other dancing group therapists for over an hour, despite health challenges and my age.

Are you open to seeing all my photos from yesterday?

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That’s Erica, an incoming President from another local affiliate of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, who was open to posing with me and a flamingo last night at the dance. Erica is open to receiving my daily blog in her email but I don’t know how often she opens it. Erica seemed open to the idea that we both use the image above for our official presidential photos.

What YouTube music video would you like to open this morning? I am open to learning that  Van Morrison and Pete Townsend wrote and sing different songs about how love can open the door to your heart (here and here).

I am open to reading any comment you make, below.

I may not open these posts with gratitude but I always close with thanks to those who help me create this blog and the sweet wonderful people e who read it (including Debra, Erica, and YOU)!

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

Day 2287: Travel together

This week, as I travel together with many other group therapists to greater understanding and wisdom at a national conference in Los Angeles, I have this image to share with you:

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Because I was traveling fast, alone, when I took that photo yesterday, it’s a little blurry. Here’s what that t-shirt says:

If you want to travel fast, travel alone; if you want to travel far, travel together.

I recently found this in my fast travels online:

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In your travels, have you discovered the truth in that African proverb?

Let’s travel together through my other photos from yesterday.

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Yesterday afternoon, many of us travelled together in a workshop by Dr. George Bermudez titled “Social Dreaming: An Opportunity for Communal Integration and Healing of Social Fragmentation.” I think traveling together, social dreaming, communal integration, and healing of social fragmentation is especially important in these days of “true” lies.  Are you together with me on that, dear readers?

My musician friend, Dave, called me at the conference yesterday to suggest that I travel far, alone, to Venice Beach with my ukulele and play my original songs there. Dave thinks that’s a fast way for me to travel to fame and fortune. For now, I think I’ll continue to travel together with the other participants in this group therapy conference through Saturday.

Let’s travel far together through this video which I just found fast on YouTube:

If you want to make a comment, travel to the comments section, below.

As always, I’m grateful to travel far together with all those who help me create this daily blog and with all my readers who travel here to read it, including YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 2286: What we are trying to tell each other

What am I trying to tell you in today’s post?

I’m trying to tell you that I’m at the AGPA group therapy conference in Los Angeles, where I’m learning to tell myself and others more about the practice of group therapy.

I’m trying to tell you that I couldn’t sleep two nights ago, in anticipation of the second day of a two-day experience group, where therapists learn from each other by doing group work together.

I’m trying to tell you that the night my mother died, over ten years ago, she told a home health aide she wanted to call me on the phone to tell me something.

I’m trying to tell you that the home health aide told my mother she wouldn’t call me, because it was in the middle of the night and she shouldn’t disturb me. (I tried to tell that story in a blog post several years ago, here.)

I’m trying to tell you that event has disturbed and haunted me ever since —  my mother being told she couldn’t tell me what she was trying to tell me right before she died.

I’m trying to tell you that I have tried to put  to rest that mystery and my feelings about it in many different ways, including letting online tarot card readings tell me what my mother was trying to tell me.

I’m trying to tell you that during my recent sleepless night here in Los Angeles, I finally let the tarot cards tell me what I wanted to know, by asking a very specific Yes/No question for the first time.

I’m trying to tell you that this telling image is the only new photo I have to share with you today:

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I’m trying to tell you that

  • it’s telling what questions we ask of the universe,
  • we need to tell our personal stories, and
  • closure helps us tell new stories, as we move on.

I’m trying to tell you that the video I told you about in this recent post  is finally available for sharing.

By writing new words to the song Feelings, I’m trying to tell people about the local affiliates of the national group therapy organization, AGPA.

Now it’s your turn to try to tell us something in the comments section, below.

I try to tell you how grateful I am at the end of each post, like now.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, group therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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