Posts Tagged With: “Are You Going With Me?”

Day 1200: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Because I come from Boston, I recognize that

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

is the English translation of this:

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which is the title of this amazing painting by Paul Gauguin

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which has been in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts for as long as I can remember.

Do you think, in his painting,  Paul Gauguin has answered

Where do we come from?  What are we?  Where are we going?

How would you answer those questions?

To give you some time to think about that, here are lots of other photos I took yesterday (which may or may not help with the answers).

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Where do I come from?  Boston.  What am I?  Human.  Where am I going? Wherever life takes me.

Are you going with me?

Thanks to Paul Gauguin, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Picasso,  my friend Mary, Arlington’s Center for the Arts, The Healing Center, the Pat Metheny Group, and all the other humans who helped me create today’s post. And thanks to you, no matter where you come from, what you are, or where you’re going.

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

Day 685: No matter where you go, there you are

I first heard the sentence

No matter where you go, there you are

in the movie Buckaroo Banzai (which has a longer official title, which I’m not going to look up right now, because I have other places to go).

Let’s see if I can find that quote from Buckaroo Banzai on YouTube:

Not only did I find that clip on YouTube, I discovered that lots of other people around the world love that quote and that movie.   That clip also includes other quotes I like:

Is someone out there not having a good time?

Is somebody crying, out there, in the darkness?

What’s your name?  Who cares?  I care.

Don’t be mean.  We don’t have to be mean.

Anyway, it’s time for us rejoin the adventures of Ann Koplow across the nth dimension (where “n” = how many dimensions you think there are, in this universe).

Today, I am going to Worcester, with my friend Peggy (not Penny), to see Pat Metheny and his Unity Band/Group (which includes Antonio Sanchez, who did the amazing drum score for the movie Birdman) (and if you want to find out more about that score, you could click that link, y’know).

Where am I seeing Pat Metheny and his Unity Group/Band, tonight?

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I found both those photos of the Hanover Theater on the Wikipedia website.  The second photo shows the seats I occupied when I watched the “So You Think You Can Dance” tour recently (described here and here).

No matter when I go to the Hanover Theater, there I am.

Yesterday, I went some other places, and there I was.

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I was stuck in traffic as I tried to make my way to Fenway Studios to say goodbye to my long-time friend and artist extraordinaire, Paul Nagano, who is leaving the Boston area to move to Hawaii.

I finally found a legal, free parking space (!!!!) and there I was, at Fenway Studios:

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…  where I saw my old, beloved business partner (and longer-time friend), Jonathan Stark, and his lovely wife, Jen.

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Before I took this picture, I told Jen that I loved her jacket. When I asked if I could include their picture in this blog, Jonathan said, “Yes, but only if you say that my jacket is fabulous, too.” (Jonathan and I worked together, for many years in the 1980’s and 1990’s, creating marketing and advertising materials, including print ads and promotional videos. One of the secrets to our success was to listen to and respect each other’s wishes.) (So there you go, Jonathan.)

I took a few more photos at Fenway Studios, yesterday:

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… but I didn’t get to spend much time with Paul and his amazing artwork.  Therefore, I am going back there, today, before I head out to Worcester later.

Now, let’s see if everybody has been paying attention. How would you complete this sentence?  “No matter where you go ….”

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And here’s another question. Are you going with me?

(You can go here to find Pat Metheny and The Metropole Orchestra playing “Are You Going With Me?” in the Netherlands. No matter where Pat goes, there he is.)

Thanks to Buckaroo, Penny, Peggy, Pat, Antonio, Paul, Jonathan, Jen, Birdmen, cats, musicians, artists, and everybody else who ever goes anywhere, including you (of course!).

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

Day 459: Time and Space

Here’s a quote, from somebody who recently joined my therapy groups:

Time exists so that everything doesn’t happen all at once.

Space exists so that everything doesn’t happen just to me.

 

TIME

Last year, around this time, I published the post Day 96: What was the last post about, anyway?, which was “dedicated to my friend, Jeanette, because it’s her birthday today.”  That post included:

  • the first appearance of the Pat Metheny tune “Are you going with me?” and
  • probably not the first appearance of a blatant mistake in these posts, because it was NOT Jeanette’s birthday.

As I explained last year,  I have trouble remembering the exact date of Jeanette’s birthday.  I always remember that it’s in early April, but the actual date eludes me.

It’s time to check last year’s posts to re-discover the real time for Jeanette’s birthday.

Okay! Day 99: Importance and unimportance, continued  tells me that it’s April 9.

Let’s see if I can make the time, right now, to fix that important information into my brain. I tend to think that Jeanette’s birthday is April 6. It’s not. It’s April 9.  9 is 6 upside down.  For some reason, I’m topsy turvy about Jeanette’s birthday. Perhaps that’s because things felt turned upside down for me, when Jeanette moved away from Boston, several years ago. So that makes sense.

That helps me to remember that I confuse 6 and 9, for Jeanette’s birthday. How to remember 9 over 6?

How about with this joke?

Q. Why is 6 afraid of 7?

A. Because 7 8 9.

Nah, that’s not going to do it.  Maybe I’ll just remember it’s 9, because 9 is later than 6, and I’ll remember that I made the mistake of being too early, last year.

I think it’s time to ask this question: Is anybody still with me?

In any case, it’s time to be in the moment, today, which is neither April 6 nor April 9, but rather April 4.

What’s significant about today? Well, it’s the home opener for the Red Sox!

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Yay!

Also, I’m leaving, today, for a weekend trip.

I’m glad I can take the time, this morning, to celebrate both those things.

SPACE

Today, I will be traveling through space, via train, to meet …

Guess who?

Jeanette!  I’m so glad she’s going with me, on this weekend adventure.

What’s THE most unlikely space for a Bostonian to pick, for a reunion, on Red Sox Opening Weekend?

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Yes, Jeanette and I are meeting in NYC. Guess where I found that photo?  Space.com.*

For real.

It’s time to finish this spacey post, people!

Thanks to Jeanette, to people and teams from Boston, New York, etc., and to you — of course! — for making the time and space to be here, today.


* Take time to visit that website if you’re curious about how NYC would look out in space, on another planet.**

** As if it isn’t, already.

Categories: humor, inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 449: Variations on “I Don’t Want to Go”

I don’t want to go.

That’s something I’ve been hearing people say a lot, lately.

I don’t want to go …

  • to work
  • to school
  • to the hospital
  • to this appointment
  • outside
  • anywhere.

I don’t want to go to this place (or event) that I should (want to) go to.

“I Don’t Want to Go” Variations

Variation #1:

When I was 13 years old, I was in the hospital to have my cardiac pacemaker replaced.  I can’t remember exactly why the pacemaker needed to be replaced, that time. It could have been:

  • the battery wearing out
  • the wires breaking
  • the casing of the battery being permeated by body fluids
  • or something else.

I needed to go to the hospital many times between the ages of 10 and 13, because

  • cardiac pacemaker technology was very new, back then, and
  • things break.

During this particular hospital visit, after the operation, before I was sent home, I felt some irregular heartbeats, which signaled to me, “SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG.”

Should I tell anybody, or keep that a secret?

If I told an adult, I knew what could happen: Another operation, before I could begin to heal from this last one. And, based on everything I knew, at age 13, that next operation would be:

  • big
  • painful
  • hard to heal from.

Should I keep it a secret?

I couldn’t.  I told one doctor, whom I trusted above all.

I said, “Doctor, my heart is skipping.”

He looked at me carefully.

He replied, It’s probably nothing, Ann.

You can go home.

I went home.

My heart was still skipping.

A few days later, I was sitting in the car with my mother, knowing that I had to go back to face the Worst Thing I Could Imagine.

Another heart surgery.

I sat there, in the passenger seat of the car, with my mother next to me, in the driver’s seat.

I was sobbing.

“I don’t want to go.”

My mother replied, What else can you do?

You have to go, Ann.

I had to go.

I went.

That was the worst.

Variation #2:

When I take animals to the vet, I imagine they’re telling me:

I don’t want to go.

I can’t tell them why they’re going, or that they’ll be home soon.

That’s the worst, too.

Variation #3:

I have seen the “I don’t want to go” look, on this animal

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when he’s had to go to the vet.  I’ve also seen that “I don’t want to go” look on the face of this animal

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when we were bringing him home, from the shelter.

What are both those animals sitting on?

A bag I’m bringing to the hospital with me, tomorrow, for my sleep study.

Maybe they don’t want me to go, either.

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Thanks to anybody who has ever had to go (or bring somebody else) somewhere they didn’t want to go. And many thanks to you, for going with me* today.


* Echoing, in my head, as I wrote that last line,

the title of my favorite Pat Metheny tune, ever.

“Are You Going With Me?”

Which YouTube version to choose?

How about the first one there?**

** Thanks to ff0000

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 26 Comments

Day 389: Company

It’s time for a Random Thoughts post!

For your amusement and edification,1 I shall now free-associate about the word “company.”

“Company” is a musical by Stephen Sondheim.

I love musicals. My favorite musical-ist (to coin a word) is Stephen Sondheim.

I especially love the musical “Company.”

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“Company” is special to me, for many reasons:

  1. I find the music, lyrics, the book — and everything else about “Company” — very smart.
  2. Despite critics saying that Sondheim musicals are too cerebral, cold, or (insert any other critical word here), I find his work emotional, illuminating, and all-around excellent — for the mind, heart, and soul.
  3. When I was in my 20’s, I tried out for a local production of “Company,” and got to sing my heart — and brains — out during several months of rehearsals and performances.
  4. In many ways, Sondheim has made my life worth living.

Company is something I seek, but also need to balance with alone time.

Connecting with others is very important to me, and something I love to do.

Sometimes, when company is there, I am yearning to be alone.

When I was a little kid in the hospital, I would wait, with every fiber of my being, for visiting hours to begin, so my mother and other people in my life could come and visit me.

Sometimes I feel alone in the company of others.

When I feel less safe and secure (due to external and/or internal conditions), it is especially difficult to tolerate being alone.

Lately (as described here and here), I’ve been using the GPS-type app, Waze, for company, when I drive to and from work.  Other helpful company — here in the Blog-o-sphere —  have helped me realize that Waze might not be the best company for that situation.

A couple of days ago, to replace Waze during drive-time, I returned to the company of an old musical friend, Pat Metheny:

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I had a little trouble deciding which video to include here, but I can never resist this tune (and it reflects my recent experience — listening to the album Pat made with Anna Maria Jopek):

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If you don’t have time to watch or listen to that live version (although I hope you do get to check it out, at some point, especially Pat soloing, starting around 4:30) …. here’s a different, short piece from the Pat Metheny and Anna Maria Jopek album, Upojenie:

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In many ways, Pat Metheny has helped make my life worth living.

Thanks to Stephen Sondheim, to Pat Metheny, to all those connections that have helped so much,  and to you — of course! — for visiting today.


  1. At least that is my intent.

  2. I found that at The Stephen Sondheim Reference Guide.

  3. I chose this video, made by the University of Rhode Island about their production of Company, because it suited my purposes and intent for this blog post. Also, Note This: When I use footnote superscripts, I can’t put them on the same line with a video that’s imbedded within a post.  So this footnote needs to be hanging out there, alone, on the line, without any company … even if it looks weird.

  4. I found that image here.

  5.  Thanks to waltermigratore, and to that lonely superscript number “5”, hanging out in space above.

  6. Thanks to alleviate1. You know what? That last hanging-out-in-mid-air superscript probably doesn’t feel quite alone, having two others just like it, in the same post.

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

Day 96: What was that last post about, anyway?

(This post is dedicated to my friend Jeanette, because it’s her birthday today.)

Man, I have been so burnt at work lately, that when I got home last night, I just wanted to do a short and pithy post, and then start some serious weekend chilling.

So the plan was: Post, then coast.

But I wanted to post something that felt important to me. And the phrase “We are neither as unimportant or important as we fear” — or some variation thereof — is one that has been haunting me, in a good way, for about a year.

(I don’t like the idea of being “haunted,” usually. For years and years, I was afraid of ghosts, until my bf cured me of that by saying this to me one day: “Ann. You realize that there are no ghosts, don’t you?”)

Last year, when I was working on a book, the phrase “You are neither as important or unimportant as you fear”  popped into my head. I made it the title of a chapter, which I started writing and stopped writing last year. And I’m not happy with that chapter.  I don’t think I’ve explained that phrase well enough, or even embellished my attempts at explaining it with particularly engaging or useful examples.

Hmmmm. I’m realizing something right now. Self judgment seems to be in the house,  in a more powerful way than usual.

That last paragraph reminded me of how I was last night, when I was in the “Coast” portion of the “Post, then coast” plan. I was talking to my bf at dinner, thinking about my experiences at work, considering stories to tell him, and having these kinds of thoughts:

“I could tell him this story. Nope. Don’t know how to make that interesting and engaging. How about this thing that happened? Nope. Don’t know how to tell it well. That other thing that happened with so-and-so? Nah. Don’t know how to shape that story, either.”

I told my bf last night about how I was struggling with this, as I tried to tell him one story, feeling frustrated with  how inadequately I was telling that one, too. I had so much trouble last night, translating my experience — which had felt interesting and important while I was living it — into a story that somebody else could appreciate and understand.

And that struggle can relate to any kind of communication, can’t it?  Whether we’re blogging, writing a book, talking to somebody (whether we’re in the role of friend, family member, acquaintance, or professional) — how do we translate our inner experience into something of value, that can be received and understood by the other person?  It takes effort, doesn’t it?

So, lately, I haven’t been feeling like I have the wherewithal, the energy, or the skill to shape my experiences into interesting stories. And sharing stories is so vital — as a way to grow personally and to connect with others.

I wrote about this importance of telling and sharing stories, in another chapter from that book — one that I’m satisfied enough with, thank goodness!– called, “You Might as Well be The Hero of Your Own Story” (posted here),  While that chapter includes the pain of not feeling like the hero of your own story, I don’t think I included anything about that other kind of pain — when you struggle in the shaping and sharing of your stories.

Well, I’m realizing that I’m engaging in several cognitive distortions right now, including this one:

All-or-Nothing thinking (also known as “Black-and-White thinking”).
Things are either all good or all bad, people are either perfect or failures, something new will either fix everything or be worthless. There is no middle ground; we place people and situations in “either/or” categories, with no shades of gray, or allowing for complexities.  Watch out for absolute words like “always”, “never,” “totally,” etc. as indications of this kind of distortion.

I’m engaging in All-or-Nothing thinking when I’m thinking that either I can or cannot tell stories.  I’m engaging in All-or-Nothing thinking when  I’m deciding that the stories– or the chapter I’ve written —  are either good enough to share or they are not.  This kind of All-or-Nothing judging about the stories I have to tell — what I want to communicate — is getting in the way of my trying to connect and to share what’s important to me.

So I’m going to try challenge this distortion, right now,  by sharing that Not-Good-Enough chapter —  which I wrote about a year ago.  I’m going to copy it from my Google Document  — suppressing urges to re-write and also losing my investment in the outcome (that is, what you might think about it).

Feel free to read this,  skim it, or skip it entirely (past the copyright symbol), to a birthday greeting to my friend, Jeanette.

Another F***ing Opportunity for Growth:

You are neither as important or as unimportant as you fear

When I was in Social Work school, I went to a presentation about suicide prevention. One of the presenters, who had years of experience working at a crisis prevention center said to the audience of students, “During an initial assessment, you might worry about asking if somebody is suicidal, for fear of making them feel worse. Don’t worry so much about saying the wrong thing! Believe me, you’re not going to have that much of an impact on somebody in crisis. You’re not that important.”

After the presentation, I was walking out with one of my classmates. She had an expression on her face which I’d seen before on fellow students (and in the mirror). With an I’m-so-exhausted-trying to learn-something-that-is-so-hard-and-pays-so-little look, she said, “If I’m not going to be important to patients, why the hell am I doing this?” I could see her point, as well as what the presenter was trying to tell us. I thought for a minute and told her this: This is the way I look at it. Every connection is important.”

What I might have said — instead — is the title of this chapter: We are neither as unimportant or as important as we fear.

In doing group work, I constantly encounter people underestimating and overestimating their impact on others, and I see how this gets in the way of their engaging completely and authentically with each other.

Here’s an important aspect of group therapy work: People usually replicate in a therapy group how they feel and act with other people in their lives. The group becomes kind of a microcosm, a more controlled sampling of how people are interpersonally. Because most of us, at times, feel like we don’t matter to others, naturally a member of a group will feel unimportant at times.

Sometimes these “less-than” feelings can result in a member leaving the group. Or sometimes a member can leave for other reasons. But here’s something I see constantly: Members, when they leave, often believe they won’t be missed. They will choose to leave without saying goodbye. (Even though I will use all possible powers of persuasion to ask them to come and say goodbye. See “Goodbyes are important”.)  No matter what the absent member thinks, the group misses them, every time. The person leaves a hole. And the person has left, so they don’t know. We can’t tell them!

I try to communicate this to group members.  I sometimes let people know after a first meeting, “You are already important to the group, whether or not you believe that.” Also before a person starts participating in  a group, I ask him or her to agree to this: “When you are finished with group, please come to a final meeting to say goodbye, honoring your and the group’s importance.”

Conversely, people can overvalue their own impact on others, and walk on eggshells, for fear of hurting the other person. We can fear that we have the power to create great harm, just by saying the wrong thing. Or if we make a mistake, we can believe that we’ve hurt a person more than we have. We can feel guilt about our imperfections and what we have or haven’t done, and withdraw from people.

That was what that crisis team presenter, at the beginning of this chapter, was trying to tell me and my fellow students. Your words don’t have that much power. You don’t have to always say the right thing. Other people aren’t as fragile — as damaged by your mistakes — as you might fear. People are resilient, and they have others in their lives to temper any effect you might have. Think about all the times people have hurt your feelings or said the wrong thing! You’ve survived all of these.

Again, I see this fear of importance — of the ability to harm others — in groups. People new to group work often constrict and edit themselves, for fear of saying “the wrong thing.” They may squelch any “negative” feelings (like impatience, anger, or uneasiness) they experience towards somebody else, for fear of insulting that person. And if they do say something — often inadvertently — that hurts somebody else, they take that as proof that they were right to be careful. Maybe they should be even more careful from now on! This can put a real crimp in honest, authentic communication.

So here’s something I tell people in group, all the time: You are responsible ONLY for your own feelings and actions. Even though what you say or do will have an effect on others, you are not responsible for what other people feel, say, or do. While this may sound like I’m saying, “Go ahead and be mean to each other! It doesn’t matter!” that’s not it. What I am saying is this: we can only control ourselves, not others. And if we’re too careful about hurting other people (which usually involves mind-reading, anyway), we run the risk of being inauthentic, as well as building up resentments towards others.

I also see this issue of importance play out in people’s experience of self-consciousness. I’m on kind of a rampage about self-consciousness these days, because I see it wreaking negative effects on me and some people I love. I see self-consciousness (a particular kind of self-judgment, I suppose) making people “play small”, “lay low,” and restrict their actions, for fear of how things might appear or look.

When we’re adolescents, and our self-consciousness is in full bloom, we might hear this from other people:

“Don’t worry so much about what other people think. You’re not that important to them. They’re hardly noticing you.”

But that doesn’t feel so good, does it? I mean, we want to be noticed, don’t we? We want to matter!

But then, we might feel shame about wanting to be noticed and feel like a fool for thinking that maybe we mattered to other people. Being noticed is probably better than being invisible, isn’t it?

I think about this when I’m walking around, singing out loud  (something I love to do and which I’ve been indulging in more lately).  When I’m challenging my own self-consciousness, it helps me to think about the title of this chapter.  People may notice me when I’m doing something that looks goofy. They may think, “That’s weird.” They may glance, judge, and then instantly forget about it. They may not notice me at all.   Knowing I’m not as important or unimportant as I fear,  frees me up to sing out loud, walking around in the world, without caring what others think.

So figuring out our own importance to others is complicated, difficult to know (because we’re not mind readers), and seemingly endless. It can engage shame, self-consciousness, narcissism, hopes, and fear.

But it’s neither as important or as unimportant as we fear.

©  2013 Ann Koplow

Phew!  I’m glad I posted that here.  That helped me, for sure.

Now for the birthday greeting to my friend Jeanette.  This is a YouTube video of a Pat Metheny song that we’ve both loved for years —  “Are You Going With Me?”   (in a version that’s relatively new to us).

Dear Jeanette,

Thank you for answering the question “Are you going with me?”  with a  “Yes!” for all these years.

Love,  Ann

And dear reader?

Thanks for going with me here, too.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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