Posts Tagged With: Barbra Streisand

Day 650: Today’s fears (and safety and dreams)

I fear I’m going to start this post by checking how many times I’ve used “fear” in previous blog titles.

Anybody brave enough to guess that number?

The number is  …..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen.  (And those posts are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here).

Does anybody here fear numbers?

My 16-year-old son (who does not read this blog, these days) does NOT fear numbers, as illustrated by this story when he was three (almost four) years old (from NoteBookLand):

Aaron’s pre-school teacher, Alyssa, said that when the kids at school were asked what they were thankful for, some said, “my parents,” or “my toys,” or “my house,” or “my kitty.” Aaron said, “I’m thankful for numbers, because I can count with them.”

When I was looking for that early Aaron story, I found this much earlier one, which I do not fear to share with you, here:

Aaron and Dada were telling stories at bedtime. Aaron told a story where Aaron was having a dream about a dinosaur and his Dada told him that dinosaurs really weren’t there. Then Aaron told another story about a dinosaur who was having a dream about Aaron and who woke up scared from his dream, and the Daddy Dinosaur told the dinosaur to not be afraid, because no Aarons were really there.

 

As a psychotherapist, I often encourage people (especially those who have encountered frightening things in their lives) to think about how safe they are, in the moment. People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses —  often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling.

I fear it is sometimes difficult to take one’s own advice.  That is, I have been fearing some not-really-dangerous things lately, including:

  • running out of storage space,
  • machines breaking,
  • losing things,
  • interpersonal miscommunication, and
  • making mistakes.

Also, I fear, I have NOT been scared of some news-worthy dangers, including:

  • Ebola (and other diseases),
  • financial scams, and
  • murderous people.

I fear that sort of thing happens, when I stop listening to the news. (When I stop listening to the news, I definitely feel safer.)

 

If you fear generalizations about human beings, beware of the next sentence.

Being vigilant about danger can help us survive, so it makes sense for our minds to be fear-focused (although we might get confused about what we should be fearing, which can be scary).

 

This time of the year, there’s plenty to fear, all around:

IMG_0640 IMG_0641 IMG_0660 IMG_0661 IMG_0663 IMG_0664 IMG_0672 IMG_0675 IMG_0677 IMG_0671 IMG_0680 IMG_0684 IMG_0685

Do any of those things scare you?  Do any of them help you feel safer?

If any of them did scare you, what else might help you feel safer, in the moment?

For me, music always helps.

(“Not While I’m Around” from Stephen Sondheim‘s Sweeney Todd, sung by Barbra Streisand, found here on YouTube.)

Here’s a live version of that song, by Jamie Cullum:

 

Last night, I had a dream. Do you fear dreams? I do not fear other people’s dreams; indeed, I welcome them into individual and group therapy. However, I may fear my own dreams (which may be why I sometimes fear going to sleep).

My dream last night was not scary, although there was a moment in the dream where I was afraid of something.

I fear I am not being clear or detailed enough, right now, about my dream. Here it is:

I was outside, talking to people who were standing and walking around in some sort of public gathering place. At times, I was having conversations with individuals — some of whom seemed to be in charge of things. At other times, I would address many people at the same time, as though I was imparting some wisdom.  At one point, I had a revelation. I thought, “in order to help bring about helpful growth in people and in society, I just need to make very small changes, like these:  (1) changing one letter in certain words and (2) increasing numbers I use, just by making them one larger. That’s all I need to do and … I can do that!” As I had this epiphany, I could see things very clearly and I heard a person standing near me describe their own sense of deja vu. I thought, “This is all telling me that I am having a true and helpful thought.”  I felt happy, safe, and joyful.

Then, I had my moment of doubt and fear, as I thought: “If I tell people this, will they think I am too self-important? Will they think I am delusional?”

When I woke up after that dream, I felt good. I wasn’t sure I was going share that dream with anyone but, I suppose, I am now telling it — in a way — to the world.

As I was writing the dream down for this post, here were my associations to that dream:

  • I work with people individually and in groups. That was happening in the dream.
  • When I act like an expert, I fear that I will be seen as wrong and/or as seeing myself as too important. That was happening in the dream.
  • I do believe that creating small changes can lead to bigger and important change. That was happening in the dream.
  • In my work, I invite people to tell their stories differently, as a way of creating more self-esteem and moving towards life goals. That is my association to changing one letter in a word, in the dream.
  • In my blog, I increase the number in the title by one, every day.

Those are my associations with that dream. When I work in therapy with other people’s dreams, I ask this question:

If that were your dream, what might it mean?

I hope you feel safe enough here to respond to that question, or to share any dreams of your own.

Here is ONE MORE three-year-old Aaron story, about change:

Aaron, Mama, and Dada were driving by a restaurant which was all boarded up with wood. When they were talking about how the restaurant was being changed, Aaron said, “Yes, that restaurant is changing. It’s changing into a …. tree!”

Is there any fear about how I might end this post? The endings, here, are almost always gratitude.

Thanks to everybody who helped make this post possible and to you — of course! — for any fears, safety, or anything in-between, that you bring here today.

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Day 460: Time and space continued

In yesterday’s blog post, Day 459: Time and space, I may have misled my readers about something.

As I’ve written about before, I love clearing up misconceptions and errors, as soon as I realize them.

I may have misled my readers in yesterday’s post, regarding numbers. As I’ve written about before, numbers can give me some trouble, especially when they’re big ones (for example, the numbers I need to keep straight when returning phone calls at work).

The misleading info from yesterday’s post was in a paragraph that — oddly enough — already related to numerical errors and confusion, regarding my friend Jeanette:

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.

When I wrote that yesterday, I almost added, “I think Jeanette moved away 6 years ago. Or, maybe it was closer to 9.

I was aware, when I was writing that paragraph yesterday, that I had no real concept of when Jeanette had left Boston. I just remembered the feelings, related to that. So instead of quantifying the time with a number, I used the phrase “several years.”

How many years might that imply, to you?

I’ll wait, while you think of a number.

Do you have a number in mind?

Okay!

When Jeanette — who is spending a getaway weekend with me, right now, in New York City — read yesterday’s post, she pointed out that the actual number was larger than “several.” In actual time, Jeanette moved away from Boston in 2000. That means it’s been 14 years.

I don’t think “several” really captures that, do you?

So what is my point, on this fine morning in NYC?

As this man

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pointed out (many more than several years ago),  time is relative.

According to that Albert Einstein quote, above, everybody’s a genius, so here’s Ann’s rule about relativity, right now: Time is relative, in our memory of important things.

Time has definitely made it to today’s post.  How shall I include Space, before I end this post?

How about this: Yesterday, after I had traveled the space from Boston to NYC, Jeanette and I were waiting in a subway station. This was during rush hour, on a Friday afternoon in downtown New York. So we were standing in a very crowded space, as you might imagine.

Soon, I realized I was hearing something very familiar: a saxophone, playing one of the Karaoke tunes I had committed to practicing on Day 422: Singing out loud — “Cry Me a River.”

For those of you unfamiliar with that song, here‘s Barbra Streisand singing it, in 1963:

 

When I heard the unmistakable strains of that much beloved song in that subway station yesterday, I turned and saw this man:

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I think Leviticus (for that was his name) could tell I loved that song, by my reactions.

And guess what?  In that crowded NYC subway space, he and I did an impromptu duet. With Leviticus on soprano sax and Ann Koplow on vocals, it wasn’t a perfect performance. There were a few errors, since we’d had no time or space for previous rehearsals.

I have no idea how many people were in that subway station audience yesterday. As I said earlier in this post, I have trouble with numbers. But whether it was dozens, scores, or hundreds of people, nobody seemed to mind. Including Jeanette.

It just goes to show you:  Anything can happen, when you feel safe, in any particular space.

Thanks to Jeanette, Barbra Streisand, Albert Einstein, Leviticus, my entire captured audience at Penn Station Subway Station at approximately 6 PM on April 4, to all performers and audiences over time, and to you — of course! — for being here, today.

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