Posts Tagged With: anniversaries

Day 2188: Today is …

Today is …

  • the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination,
  • the anniversary of my first heart surgery and my first pacemaker, at age 10,
  • the birthday of a wonderful woman named Jean who reads this blog (Happy Birthday, Jean!), and
  • Thanksgiving in the USA!

Today is a great day to give thanks and to share these photos, taken yesterday.

IMG_1187

IMG_1171

IMG_1186

IMG_1176

IMG_1183

IMG_1195

IMG_1180

IMG_1182

IMG_1189

IMG_1184

IMG_1172

IMG_1185

IMG_1194

IMG_1178

IMG_1174

IMG_1177

Today is a day to share this: we may rant and rave at the passage of time, but it’s good to be in the moment — today and every day!

Today is the day I discovered Today is master-class:  how to paint a cat.

 

Today is a day for giving thanks to all who help me create these blog posts and to you — of course! — for reading them.

IMG_1173

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 1787: Progress

I often tell people in therapy that it’s important to acknowledge and validate progress, especially their own.

Therefore, I’m going to acknowledge and validate progress in several areas.

Michael sent me the three photos he took for me on Saturday.

michael2.jpg  michael1

michael3

I am having a pain-free reaction this year to November 22, the anniversary of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy and also my first heart surgery at age 10 (progressively blogged about here, here, here, here, and here).

For now, when I have my teeth cleaned (as I am today), I take only a single  pill of antibiotics instead of having an intravenous infusion  (progressively blogged about here and here).

Because I got my own INR monitor last week, I can test my blood levels at home instead of going into the hospital every few weeks to manage my anticoagulant medication.

There is progress in women feeling safer to speak up about sexual harassment.

I continue to progress in taking photos for this blog.

IMG_5065

IMG_5064

IMG_5062

IMG_5063

I hope we can make progress towards peace.

Here’s “Progress” by Mutemath:

I shall now progress in giving thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

IMG_4580

 

 

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

Day 665: Smiles

I am smiling as I’m writing this, remembering moments from my presentation yesterday, in a room full of people interested in the group therapy I do.  There were smiles there, as well as lots of other feelings and facial expressions, too.

I’m also smiling as I’m remembering how encouraging and helpful my readers have been for me here as I’ve prepared for this presentation (which went well enough to make me and other people smile).

“Smiles” could have easily been the title of many blog posts before today’s, because I’ve written many times about joy (here, here, here, and here, for example). But smiles have never shown up in the title before.

That makes me smile, in wonder.

Here are some other random thoughts I have, right now, about smiles:

  • When I interact with people who never seem to smile, no matter what, I can feel nervous and unsettled.
  • Yesterday, right before my presentation, I made note that the day was special for another reason: the wedding anniversary of my late parents. Then, part of my presentation preparation included looking at these smiles:

Scan_Pic0026

  • When I look at those smiles, I can smile back and also cry. As I’ve oft tried to communicate (including in this post here), all feelings — not just smiles — are important, honored, and welcomed.

Here is Judy Garland, smiling (and showing other things, too) as she sings “Smile” (music written by Charlie Chaplin).

Here are some smiles from yesterday:

IMG_1403 IMG_1406 IMG_1410 IMG_1418 IMG_1419 IMG_1420 IMG_1421 IMG_1422 IMG_1424 IMG_1425 IMG_1426 IMG_1427 IMG_1429 IMG_1430 IMG_1431 IMG_1432 IMG_1436 IMG_1437

If you express anything in a comment (including a favorite “Smile” song of your own), what do you think I’ll do?

Thanks to everyone who reads, smiles, cries, expresses, and does whatever else helps each person cope, heal, and grow. If you realize I’ve thanked you … big smile.

Categories: in memoriam, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 42 Comments

Day 325: The Anniversary Connection

Anniversaries are important.

They must be, otherwise why do we observe them, so often, and in so many different ways?

Image*

We observe all sorts of anniversaries, joyful and painful.

Here are some Google Images, for “observing anniversaries”:

Image**

Image***

Image****

Tomorrow, I’m marking a painful anniversary. Here’s how I’m preparing for it:

  1. I’m naming it — here and elsewhere.
  2. I’m leaving room for new perspectives.
  3. I’m being kind to myself.

When something is painful, I tend to isolate.  I know I’m not alone, in THAT.

I just googled “animal in pain behaviors.” Here’s a quote from a Wikipedia article.

Many animals also exhibit more complex behavioural and physiological changes indicative of the ability to experience pain: they eat less food, their normal behaviour is disrupted, their social behaviour is suppressed,***** they may adopt unusual behaviour patterns, they may emit characteristic distress calls, experience respiratory and cardiovascular changes, as well as inflammation and release of stress hormones.

So, yes, I’m not alone in that.  And I’ve met many other people whose social behavior is suppressed, when they are in pain.

Tomorrow, on the anniversary of November 22, 1963, I will probably spend most of the day by myself.

That is a choice. I like being alone. It helps leave room for contemplation and change.

However, I am making a commitment — to myself and to my social network — to reach out, if I need to.

When I choose to be alone (and I do have that choice, as an adult), I want to remember that I don’t HAVE to be alone.

I need to remember this:  if I do reach out, I will get a response. I will, most likely, feel some connection.

And if I don’t, I can reach out again. And again. Until I feel connected.

In the past, if I have reached out and not felt a connection, I have felt worse.

That can feel too risky: to reach out, when you’re in pain. I see that, all the time.

It’s not too risky.   Someone will be there, eventually. You just need to reach out, until you connect.

I know that, now.

Thanks for connecting, today.

______________________________________

* Thanks to Vroman’s Bookstore for the image.

** This 9/11 image was attributed to this site.

*** Thanks to PRI for this image.

**** This image of Walter Cronkite, announcing John F. Kennedy’s death, was attributed to this site.

***** Emphasis added, by me.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 304: The Best Day of the Year

I remember times when Halloween, October 31, was the best day of the whole year.

I got to dress up, as something else …

Scan_Pic0022

 

… and there was candy.

Case closed.

I’m not dressing up in costumes these days, but there are lots of reasons why today could be the best day of this year, including:

1.  The Boston Red Sox are World Series champions!

1383190540000-2013-10-30-redsox

Note: That photo is from ustoday.com, which is including these headlines:  “Home at Last,” and “Red Sox savor title, comfort at home.” (I like a lot of those words, as well as the image.)

2.  It’s Halloween!  I still like seeing how other people (and some animals) dress up, even though I don’t.

1380369_10201668686191220_1647335128_n

 

Note: That photo was labelled #Abe”purr”ham Lincoln on Facebook today.

3.  It’s the third anniversary of the day I met Michael, my boyfriend.

4.  Isn’t that enough?

 

During this year —  My Year of Living Non-Judgmentally — I’ve thought and written about Good Days/Bad Days, in many different ways.

For example, I’ve invited people to consider this: “Bad day/good day” thoughts might — at times —  get in the way of the making the most of each moment (see here for a post about that). And people have found that perspective helpful, at times.

But, Geeze Louise!

Some days are just friggin’ great, no matter how you look at them.

Thanks to all of you, for visiting today.

 

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

Day 188: Remembering, forgetting, and being hurt

I am helping to plan a High School Reunion, which is happening, in two weeks,  on an “off year.” (Meaning, an anniversary which is not a multiple of 5.)

Yesterday, I was talking to a classmate on the phone, whom I hadn’t spoken to for many years.

She asked me, “Is your mother still alive?”

I said that, no, both my parents had passed away.

She said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  When did your mother pass?”

And I said, “Wait.  I can never remember that. Hold on ….”

And my mind did that squirming-like-a-toad thing it does, when I can’t remember something I should know.

I said, “Geesh.  I don’t know why that happens to me.  I always have to think about it. Now, I know my father passed away in 1997, my son was born in 1998, and ….”

The year of my mother’s death still wasn’t coming to me, and I panicked a little, because I was thinking, “You should be able to think of that!  What is the matter with you?”

I explained, (assuming that my classmate most likely thought this memory lapse of mine was very weird), “There were so many things going on at that time: I got a big promotion, we moved to a different town …”

Then, I gave an estimate, “It was about 5 or 6 years ago, I think,” still feeling some shame about the not-remembering.

Now, as I’m writing this, in peace and contemplation, I should be able to figure out that date, pretty easily.

Here goes:  When my mother died, my son was going into 5th grade. He is now going into 10th grade. So it was 5 years ago that my mother passed away.  It was 2008.

Now, 2008 should also be an easy year to remember, because she was 90 years old at her death, and I completely remember the year of her birth: 1918.

I can’t forget the year of both my parents’ birth. That year is right there, in the top of my mind.

I think 1918 would be quite easy for me to remember, no matter what. Also, that Very Important Year of 1918 also got mentioned — a lot — in my home as I was growing up because of this:

IT WAS THE LAST TIME THE BOSTON RED SOX HAD WON THE WORLD SERIES.

Image

Boy, those Red Sox just couldn’t win (The World Series), for most of my life (and for most of the lives of most of the Red Sox fans in the world).

I confess this, too:  I have to pause and think about the year that Very Infamous Streak got broken. I THINK it was 2005.  I’ll go check (on Google) ….

Nope. I was wrong. It was 2004.

Now, Red Sox fans will probably think that’s incredible, that I couldn’t remember the year.  (And I was a big Red Sox fan, for many years.)

I have trouble with numbers. I guess. Maybe because they are details, shmetails. Maybe because I EXPECT to have trouble with numbers.

I’m not sure.  All I know is that certain dates escape me.

For example, I remember, once, I got my mother’s birthday wrong.  Her birthday was April 22. And I forgot it. For some reason, that year, I thought it was the 23rd.

And I remember the hurt look on her face.

Here’s her face without a hurt look on it (which is how she usually looked):

Image

(That’s a photo of my parents, copied on regular paper, that’s on the side of my refrigerator.)

I didn’t like hurting my mother,  but sometimes I did.

I still have a really strong reaction to hurting people. I can get very upset and worried if I think I’ve hurt — or might hurt —  somebody else’s feelings.

Being afraid of hurting somebody else’s feelings can paralyze me, sometimes. Make me afraid to act. Make me regret my actions, to an excessive degree. I can magnify the hurt I might cause and minimize other things.  (See here, if you want to read about the cognitive distortion of Magnifying/Minimizing) (and two other distortions relating to this post — Shoulds and Mind Reading.)

This is what I sometimes tell people in the therapy groups that I do, when I see that very human (and often quite beautiful, but painful) fear of hurting somebody else:

 Other people are not as fragile as you fear.  

Other people have said useful things to me about that Fear of Hurting Others, such as this:

 If we are connected and we care, we will inevitably hurt and be hurt.

That’s not an “official” quote, so I just went a-googlin’ (using “hurt quotes”) to find something similar.

And I found some interesting things:

“Of course I get hurt.” — Jackie Chan

Also, keeping with the Baseball Theme, here are two quotes that came up by Satchel Paige:

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

“Airplanes may kill you. But they ain’t likely to hurt you.”

That last quote is helpful for me, right now, for another reason:  I’ll be flying in August, with my son, to London.  Flying is something else — besides hurting other people’s feelings — that I can get anxious about.

And here’s another number I have trouble remembering — not just the year, but the date of my mother’s passing. I had to look that up, just now, too.

August 12, 2008.

I’ll be in England — or Scotland — on the 5th anniversary of that date, with my son.

(Note that I have trouble remembering the exact dates of that trip,  too!  Geesh.)

Here’s how I’m going to wrap-up this post today.  Here’s what feels left unsaid, right now:

On August 11, 2008, my mother told people, while I was asleep, that she wanted to tell me something.  “I have something I need to tell Ann, ” she said.   I was with my mother for some times while she was dying, but I was not there for that. Or for the moment of her passing.

And I don’t know what she wanted to tell me.  Sometimes I wonder about it.  What was it? Was it something she wanted to warn me about?  (She worried about things, sometimes.) A feeling she wanted to express?  Did it have something to do with forgiveness? Something about hurt? Or maybe about love?

I just don’t know.  And it’s difficult not to mind-read, about what she wanted to say.

Here’s what helps me to remember, right now:

What we miss seems more important, sometimes, than what we get.

And it’s not.  It’s all important.

Thanks for reading today.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.