Posts Tagged With: Boston Children’s Hospital

Day 2396: It gets better

Yesterday, at a better hospital in Boston, I noticed this:

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When things seem to be getting worse, it helps to believe that it gets better.

It gets better when we …

  • welcome each other,

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  • introduce ourselves with love,

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  • throw kindness around like confetti,

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  • commit to accountability, communication, respect, innovation,  and teamwork,

 

  • accept and express appreciation,

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  • accept all our feelings,

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  • stop self-defeating thoughts and behaviors,

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  • show our strengths and our vulnerabilities,

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  • inspire and become inspired,

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  • see beyond,

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  • transform tomorrow while also honoring the past,

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  • accept ourselves exactly the way we are,

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  • realize we have options of different ways to respond,

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  • set healthy boundaries,

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  • eat healthy food,

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  • and realize that we are loved.

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It gets better with music like “It Gets Better” (by Broadway Sings for The Trevor Project):

It gets better with gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this “it gets better” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2336: The difference between worry and helping

As I described in last week’s post — Day 2328: A Year of No Worry — I have pledged to not worry for a year, which has been helping!  As also described in that post, I told an employee at Home Depot — who said, “It’s my job to worry” — that there was a huge difference between worry and helping.

Yesterday, in a therapy session, the difference between worry and helping came up again.

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As you can see from those lists, worry entails many negative experiences and helping includes much more positive experiences.  In some cases, the experiences are almost opposite (“frozen” vs. “warmth” and “future” vs. “in the moment”). And yet, people often intertwine worry with helping, believing that unless they worry about others, they will focus too much attention on themselves — becoming selfish jerks rather than helpers.  As usual, black and white thinking (one of the cognitive distortions found here) causes us to think it’s all or nothing — either we are selfish jerks or worrying helpers.

What I’m discovering, in my year of no worries, is that letting go of worry is helping me become a better helper to others.  Worry saps my energy and gets in the way of my being as much as possible in the moment with others and therefore more sensitive to their needs.

I’m not going to worry about whether my writing in today’s post or my other photos from yesterday are helping.

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If you need help interpreting any of those photos, don’t worry.  Ask for help and I’ll give it, worry-free.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “The difference between worry and helping”:

I think that video about differences between humans and animals is very helpful.

The  human band Golden Earring has at least two songs about worry:  “No Need to Worry”

.. and “Don’t Worry.”

 

No need to worry and don’t worry about leaving a comment, below.

Worry-free and helping thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2335: In a perfect world

In a perfect world,

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trees would always be flowering,

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everybody would get to live exactly where they want,

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there would be effective and meaningful communication despite skepticism, religious differences, difficult people, and cognitive distortions like blaming,

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we would be looking to the future for our children,

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the best things in life would be free,

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potato chips would be good for you,

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people would greet each other without fear,

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there would be safe places for people to work things out together, and

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every home would have a cat and every cat would have a home.

 

In a perfect world, all people would be able to express their thoughts  and feelings about their perfect worlds (which you can do, below).

Searching for “in a perfect world” on YouTube finds this

and this.

I find Phora‘s lyrics so perfect that I’m going to include them here:

In A Perfect World

by Phora

Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
Ain’t nobody perfect
See, in a perfect world it would all be so simple
Sometimes simple isn’t worth it
Cause all the hard times I’ve been through
Made me the man I am today
And I ain’t nowhere close to perfect
But I’m perfectly fine with that, I’m still breathing
So many scars and wounds that’ll never heal
I’m still bleeding, I know you see ’em
All those imperfections in yourself
You’re just stressing it too much, but life’s a lesson in itself
One day we’ll learn what it means
One day we’ll learn to be free
Baby, I’ve been trying to separate my wants and my needs
But what does perfect mean?
Lately I’ve been asking myself
If I paint you this picture maybe you’ll answer yourself
You see, a perfect world to me is no more violence
No more gunshots at night, homie and no more
Sirens
No more kids losing their life too soon and no drunk driving
I seen it a lot happen way too many times and we ain’t trying
We ain’t trying hard enough to change it, broken hearts and hatred
A perfect world to me is a world free of this racists
So who are you to judge a person by the color of skin
How hard is it just to smile and treat each other as kin
I wish, there was a world where our children could play outside
Without a drive-by, curving and watching straight bullets fly
But why, why does it feel like we’re not ready?
When I talk about change, man
Why I feel like they don’t get me?
Well, I guess I ain’t perfect enough
One day the money and jewels gon’ be worthless to us
We gonna value ourselves based of the love in our hearts
Not the cash in our pockets
I’m thinking what if we start a perfect world
Where the music ain’t downgrading our women
And they stop degrading themselves
They lost faith in our women
Trust me, I’m the one to judge, can’t stand the way that I’m livin’
We all dream of that perfect place and man, I’m way beyond vision
See, I can hear it, taste it and feel it
The scent of it is so potent
Perfect like your first love before your heart was broken
Perfect like the sound of crashing waves in the ocean
It’s perfect like the sound of music when you play it while smoking
So many, perfect imperfections in this world, still I love it here
Only 21 and I hope to make it another year
But if not, my soul will be perfectly free
She might not be perfect to you, but man she’s perfect to me
Yours Truly
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
Ain’t nobody perfect
But we’re all worth this life
Don’t matter where we’re going
As long as we’re living right
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
We only got this one time, one time
Before we’re living in time
Ain’t nobody perfect
You see, the very end of it
I didn’t know where I was
All I know it was peaceful
Almost like a place nothing could go wrong
A place so perfect
I’ve always imagined a place like this
Ever since I was young, I was
Never really able to sleep
My mom always told me:
“Close your eyes, picture the waves crashing
Imagine yourself there with no worries”
That’s the only thing that ever really helps
So much going on in this world
Sometimes I wonder if we were able to think our
Own heaven into existence
What would mine be like?
Well, I think I finally found it
Better yet, I think it’s been with me all along

I think gratitude has been with me all along, so thanks to all who helped me create this post today and — of course! — to YOU, for making my world more perfect.

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

Day 759: We go on

This post may go on for a while, since there was a lot going on yesterday.

The first thing I needed to do yesterday — after going on about tests in this blog post — was to go on into work.

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As you can see, we are going on — in Boston, Massachusetts USA —  despite quite the blizzard.

Penny the Pen …

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goes on adventures with me these days. That chair is where my patients usually sit as we go on, in therapy sessions,  about many important issues. Yesterday, the hospital-based primary care practice where I go on practicing individual and group psychotherapy was closed down, due to all the snow that had gone on the day before.

We go on with the support of competent, caring people, don’t you think? Where I work, one of those people is Chris.

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Chris is one of those people who cares so much that she’ll go on into work even when the practice is closed. In that photo, you can see her hands going on about their business, as I went on taking that photo in her office.

Soon after I took that photo, I told Chris I had to go on to a scheduled cardiac test at Children’s Hospital, across the street.

I’ll go on, briefly now,  about that scheduled cardiac CT scan. My doctors — who I tend to go on about in this blog (like here, here, and here) — prefer to go on solid data about my very unusual heart, as we make some difficult decisions about heart surgery. The cardiac CT scan, going on at hospitals near me, should help with that (especially for a heart like mine, which goes on despite a backwards design).

Here are some photos of me going on to the cardiac CT scan at Children’s Hospital, yesterday:

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It takes courage for me to go on through those doors, since scary and painful things were going on around me in that hospital, when I was growing up.

We go on healing, throughout our lives, from painful experiences when we were younger. For me, returning to old places, in a new way, helps, as does taking photos as I go on:

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Kind and competent people helped me go on through that unfamiliar test, yesterday.

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Melissa and I are going on, there, about a new device that helps her find a good-enough vein for the CT scan. Because Melissa did not believe that she was photogenic (even though I went on about how untrue that was), I used Penny as a stunt double for her:

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Melissa and Del (not pictured) got the needle and the IV to go on through my vein like it was supposed to.

Ouch!

Shall we go on, in this story, to the cardiac CT scan room?

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We Bostonians — whether we’re adults, children, patients, or treaters — do go on about the Red Sox.

I shall go on, now, and  introduce you to Kara

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… who is standing next to her portrait in the CT scan room’s giant mural.  Kara’s story about that mural reminded me that we go on, despite tragedies in our lives. The mural was designed by a man whose sister had died young, and he used her huge vinyl record collection to create the images on the wall.

Kara showed me how one co-worker, because of where she’s located in the mural, gets teased about having a split personality:

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I could go on and on about the kindness of Kara and Melissa, who took care of me with heated blankets during the CT scan procedure and ginger ale and snacks after it was all over:

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That was my first ginger ale in about 50 years! When I was a kid at Children’s Hospital, ginger ale was the only drink they had going on there, and I haven’t been able to stomach it since … until I decided to try it again, yesterday.

We go on, when we try things with a new perspective. That ginger ale tasted delicious.

After the cardiac CT scan, I had to go on to more tests at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, nearby.

I passed by this room, at Children’s Hospital

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dedicated to the cardiologist who helped my parents and me go on, when I was born with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries.

Before I go on too long about my Day of Tests yesterday,  here’s a photo I quickly snapped of the Pulmonary Functioning Test (PFT) Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital:

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After that test, I went down to the lobby of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and saw this:

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A memorial — created by his co-workers — to Michael J. Davidson, the cardiac surgeon who was shot and killed last week.

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We go on, as best we can.

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I then went on home, as Pat Metheny’s “We Go On” played in my headphones.

(“We Go On” is going on at YouTube, here and now.)

As usual, music I love helped me go on, and I saw all this:

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Many thanks to Chris, Melissa, Del, Kara, Dr. Nadas, Dr. Michael Davidson, Pat Metheny, and all the kind people who have helped me go on in my life — including you, for visiting me here today.

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

Day 568: How am I supposed to feel?

“How am I supposed to feel?”

I’m wondering if that’s a question you’re familiar with.

Personally, I hear questions like that a lot, at work and elsewhere. For example:

How am I supposed to feel

  • about what just happened.
  • in the morning/afternoon/evening/night.
  • when I’m treated that way.
  • about my family.
  • at this age.
  • about the future.
  • regarding that news.
  • when I’m dealing with all this.
  • after you said that.
  • when things seem so dangerous.
  • if I’m having a different reaction from other people.
  • when the weather is like this.
  • if I don’t feel like myself.
  • in response to what they did.
  • with this unexpected occurrence.
  • when I lose people.
  • about this feeling.
  • here.
  • now.

…. and other questions (expressed with different feelings).

What’s the answer?

I don’t know.

Or, put another way,  there is no “supposed” about feelings.  Feelings just …. are.

How are you supposed to feel about THAT?

Or, about these photos I took yesterday?

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How was I supposed to feel, when I was taking them?

What do you think?

Thanks to everybody who contributed to the words and images here, to people who have feelings (at work and elsewhere), and to you — of course! — no matter what you are supposed to do, today.

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 543: Reflections

I take photos very intuitively, for this blog.  I usually don’t have a plan for how I’m going to use any particular picture. I just capture images that capture me,  without much reflection or thought.

At the same time, there are definitely themes in what I choose to snap with my iPhone, as I move through my day. One of those themes, I’ve noticed, is reflections. Reflections in water, windows, and elsewhere.

Here are two recent examples, from a walk away from work:

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As with any kind of communication, I never know whether I can really reflect to you what I saw, felt, and thought, when I took those pictures.  The reflections, as I walked by them, captivated me. But can I translate them, in a meaningful way, as I pass them on to you?

Do you see what I saw?  Probably not.  But do you see something that has any value, for you? And have I conveyed, in any way, the wonder of my original experience?

Here’s another way I could reflect, about any photo:  could I have done a better job, in  communicating what I wanted to?

For example, maybe this is a more effective framing, for that second shot:

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Perhaps that framing focuses better on the tree and its reflection. Or maybe not.

Maybe this framing is better:

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So many options for each presentation …. and so little expertise and experience in this photographer!   So how on earth should I decide how to present any image to you?

And yet, I do decide. Like anyone, I make countless decisions, every day, about what to do, reveal, or communicate — with a photo, with a word — from moment to moment.

Sometimes the reasons for the decisions are intuitive, and sometimes they’re more obvious to me. For example,  I, personally, would not choose that last framing of that tree-reflection photo. It’s too close.  For me, it’s lacking a sense of context.

I believe this: effective communication, of any experience, reflects a balance of closeness and context, of specific and general, of present and past.

How am I doing, communicating now?

No matter how that’s going, I can show you more, before I’m done here today.

For example, I could show you more photos of reflections, without verbally reflecting on them, letting you experience each one for yourself:

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Let’s end this post with a closer look at that last photo (which appeared in a recent post, here):

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Here’s one truth, for me, about reflections, photographic or otherwise: I see more, every time I look.  For example, while I had noticed, previously, the reflection of that big, beautiful bird in the water, I did not realize I had captured the bird itself, until just now.

Isn’t that amazing?

I’m glad I reflected back, again, today.

Thanks to all things that reflect; to Boston and Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA);  to blue herons; to people who do their best communicating experiences; to waffles and wafflers; to those who reflect back to children (and adults) their in-born and unique worth; and to you — of course! — for reflecting, here and now.

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

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