Posts Tagged With: Boston

Day 1772: The fight, flight, or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life

Yesterday morning, when I was fighting to fly to work on time, I froze when I saw this:

The fight, flight or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life.

Before I read that article by Kate Murphy in the New York Times, I knew  it would echo many things I’ve been telling my patients for years, including:

  • fear and its companion — the fight, flight or freeze response — can save us from danger,
  • however, the level of fear we experience today is  based on the realities of the distant past — the danger-filled lives of our  cave-dwelling ancestors who lived under constant threat of  invading tribes and wild animals,  and
  • that level of fear  interferes with modern life.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“Change has occurred so rapidly for our species that now we are equipped with brains that are super sensitive to threat but also super capable of planning, thinking, forecasting and looking ahead,” said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “So we essentially drive ourselves nuts worrying about things because we have too much time and don’t have many real threats on our survival, so fear gets expressed in these really strange, maladaptive ways.”

I don’t want to drive ourselves nuts by spending too much time on that article here, but I recommend you read the whole thing.  And I do want to include a few more quotes from the article before another flight into photography.

  • Consciously activating the more measured, analytical part of your brain is the key to controlling runaway fear and anxiety.
  • Arresting an overactive amygdala requires first realizing and then admitting you’re feeling uneasy and scared.
  • “The more you try to suppress fear, either by ignoring it or doing something else to displace it, the more you will actually experience it.”
  • The amygdala is less apt to freak out if you are reminded that you are loved or could be loved. For example, seeing images of people with frightened expressions is usually a huge trigger for the amygdala, but that response is greatly diminished when subjects are first shown pictures of people being cared for or hugged.

  • Just as fear can be contagious, so can courage, caring and calm.








How did those photos affect your modern life?

Before you take flight from this post, I will fight to express my main reason for taking that last photo — it reminded me of the song “Our Time”  from Merrily We Roll Along:

To make this our time rather than the time of cave dwellers, let’s do our best to focus on courage, caring, and calm.

Modern thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.



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

Day 1756: Where is it?

Because I often misplace things (usually temporarily) and because we recently moved to a new home, I’m often asking

Where is it?

Here are recent examples of my asking today’s title question:

I just listened to my iPhone with my new pair of bluetooth earbuds.  Where is it?

I love wearing my mother’s long-sleeved denim shirt. Where is it?

I get so many compliments on my “Left the House before I Felt Ready” t-shirt.  Where is it?

I haven’t filled out that donation receipt from the MetroWest Humane Society.  Where is it?

There’s a control somewhere for the steam shower.  Where is it?

There’s got to be a market around here that has great produce.  Where is it?

I smell cat pee.  Where is it?

Where is it that I took these photos yesterday?













Where is it that I took all those photos? In and around Boston, Massachusetts.

There’s a performance on YouTube from the musical Fun Home, which I saw  yesterday in Boston with my fun friend Deb.  Where is it?

There’s a place to leave comments for this blog.  Where is it?  (It’s below the post.)

I always express gratitude at the end of my posts.  Where is it?


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

Day 1749: What’s your favorite picture?

What’s your favorite picture?

What kind of question am I asking there?

Am I asking …

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
  2. What’s your favorite image?
  3. What’s your favorite photograph of every photograph you’ve ever seen?
  4. What’s your favorite photograph that you’ve taken?
  5. What’s your favorite photograph in today’s blog?






My favorite picture in today’s blog is the one of my stand-up comedy teacher Ron Lynch and his wonderful girlfriend, Shelly (above).  Last night, Michael and I (not pictured) had dinner with Ron and Shelly at Vinnie’s Ristorante and talked about many things, including  Ron’s Wikipedia page (which makes him too old by a couple of years), blogging, cupcakes, skeptics, beliefs, Steve McQueen movies, napkins, cats,  Dads, pasta, the ocean, L.A., Boston,  comedy, comedians,  politics, the pictures of comedian Lenny Clarke on the restaurant’s walls,  and many other interesting topics I’m picturing in my head, right now.

Here‘s Ron, Fred Armisen  and CELERY BOY (if you can picture that):


I’m now picturing many comments on this blog, below.

Can you picture how grateful I am for people like Michael, Ron, Shelly, and — of course! — you?



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

Day 1736: Are you listening?

Are you listening?  What do you hear?

I’m listening.

I’m hearing many different things.

“Are you listening?” is something I saw on a poster near Boston’s Symphony Hall yesterday.


After I saw that poster, I was listening to somebody behind me in the audience of Merrily We Roll Along ask

Is Stephen Sondheim still alive?

I turned around and said, “Stephen Sondheim is alive.”

And then we listened to each other discuss Merrily We Roll Along before the start of that amazing musical.  When she asked, “How is the music?” she listened to my reply: “It’s wonderful.”

Because of all the upsetting things I listen to  at work and elsewhere, I’m doing my best to listen to wonderful music and the sounds of nature near where I live.

Thanks for listening and for looking at my other photos from yesterday.















Are you listening to this YouTube video about the 2012 production of Merrily We Roll Along starring Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Are you listening to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pleas to contribute to this relief fund for Puerto Rico? I listened to that, too, yesterday.

Are you listening to my requests for comments?

I’m grateful to all who listen, including YOU.

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

Day 1636: Like to shine

I like to shine. Do you?  

Like to shine a light on these lyrics, shining through my head:

Like to shine like the sun for one more summer day.

Like to shine like a lighthouse for one last summer night.

Like to shine a guess about what song that is?

Before I shine a light on the answer, like to shine like a camera for some more summer sights.
















“Be the lighthouse” spreads the light on my lyrical question.

I’ll likely see Fenway Park’s lights shine on James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt one summer night.

Like to shine in a comment?  Be the lighthouse and spread your light below.

Like to shine my thanks on  James Taylor, Yogi Tea, Tony’s Clam Shop, artists everywhere,  the sun, the sea, and you — of course! —  for being the lighthouse, here and now.

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

Day 1607: Magical Places

Last night, in the magical place of group therapy, people shared thoughts and feelings about magical places.




As you can see, my magical places included Monument Valley, the ocean, The Land of Lost Treasures, and the human heart.

What are your magical places?

Here are more magical places I visited yesterday:






Music brings me to a magical place (here  in the magical place of YouTube).

Somewhere, there’s a place for your magical comments, below.

As always, I’m in a magical place of gratitude when I finish a post. Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for making my blog a magical place by being here, now.


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

Day 1429: Peace

While I thought I might name today’s post “Pick Me Ups,”










… or “Shadows,”












… or “We’ve Got it All,”












… I’ve decided, on this morning of my return to work after a two-month medical leave, to go with “Peace.”





Peace be with all who helped me create today’s post and peace be with you, my dear readers.

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

Day 1350: Remembering

On September 11, 2016, I am remembering so much, including:

  1.  9/11/01, when I was in a park  on a  Tuesday with my three-year-old son Aaron, not knowing how I was going to explain to him  what had just happened to our country.
  2. Witnessing my now eighteen-year-old son Aaron going through intense security systems at  Boston’s Logan Airport, yesterday, as he left our country for his college experience in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  3. Spending yesterday evening with my beautiful friend Barbara in beautiful Boston, where we attended  a performance of  Stephen Sondheim‘s Sunday in the Park with George.

Here are some images I’m remembering from yesterday:





































I’m remembering that the song I find most moving from Sunday in the Park with George is “Move On.”

As I am moved by “Move On,” I am also remembering these two things:

  1. I saw the very memorable Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin in the original production of Sunday in the Park with George.
  2. Yesterday, at a toll both outside of Logan Airport, I told the toll collector I had just sent my son off on a plane to college. She replied, with feeling,  “He is missing you as much as you are missing him,” which I love remembering.

What are you remembering, here and now?

I am remembering to thank all who helped me create this post and you — of course! — for remembering to visit this blog, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 775: Awkward

Yesterday (my last work day before a two-week vacation),  I decided that the right thing to do was to go into work for a few hours in the afternoon, despite my running an awkwardly inconvenient fever two evenings before.

During my time at work yesterday, this was the only thing I awkwardly wrote on my white board:


I hope I can explain, non-awkwardly and clearly, why “Awkward” was hanging around on my white board yesterday, awkwardly alone like that.

I wrote “Awkward” during a final “termination” session (terminating therapy is described further and perhaps somewhat awkwardly in this here post), when a patient and I said goodbye to each other after working together for several months.  This termination session had been cancelled and rescheduled several times over the last week or so, because of the extreme Boston winter weather, which is making it supremely awkward to get anywhere these days.

I asked the patient, in yesterday’s termination session, what it was like for him to say goodbye to me (or to anybody else), and that’s when “Awkward” showed up.

Personally, I did not feel awkward about the word “Awkward” showing up in that way, because I think a lot of people feel awkward when saying “goodbye,” and I think it helps make the situation less awkward by naming the awkwardness.

What do you think of that awkward sentence, above?

I hope you don’t feel awkward about expressing your thoughts and feelings about anything I’m awkwardly including here today.

(I feel a little awkward writing this now,  but I think I might have too much to show and tell today about the topic “awkward,” which might make this post awkwardly long and confusing.)

Where was I, before that awkward digression?

Oh, yes. After I took that first photo yesterday, I knew “awkward” would be the topic today, and then I saw “awkward” everywhere, especially when I was trying to make my way home through the very awkward snow, ice, and super-cold temperatures in the Boston area. But I didn’t want to stop in the middle of any road and take photos — that would have been awkward, for lots of reasons.

I did manage to capture this one shot of the awkwardly-not-so-great outdoors:


Hey!  That photo reminds me, awkwardly, that it’s Valentine’s Day today. However,

  • we’re all awkwardly cold and snow-bound, where I live,
  • it’s awkward to get out to buy flowers, candy, and other non-awkward or awkward gifts (depending upon your thoughts and feelings about Valentine’s Day), and
  • my son and I are flying to California today, leaving my boyfriend Michael behind with our cats, which seems like a particularly awkward Valentine’s Day present.

Also, the name of that shop  — “Paradise Flowers” — is awkward, considering the current circumstances in the Northeast USA.

A few nights ago, when I was unknowingly coming down with an awkward fever and awkwardly taking these photos at Whole Foods Market (awkwardly presented before in this blog post, here) …

IMG_5428 IMG_5429 IMG_5430 IMG_5432 … I awkwardly slipped away from Michael and found a Valentine’s Day card for him. Then, I awkwardly ran to an open line and asked a nice cashier to RING THIS UP, QUICK! because I was buying it for my boyfriend who might awkwardly appear at any moment, and she got awkward and frazzled, but we managed to complete the transaction without Michael awkwardly spoiling the surprise.

I just took an awkwardly fuzzy photo of that Valentine’s Day card, but uploading photos has been awkwardly inconsistent for me lately (which is particularly awkward timing, because of the previously awkwardly mentioned two-week trip to California), so I’ll just awkwardly tell you this: the card has a picture of a duck.


More “awkward” thoughts from your awkward WordPress host, in the awkwardly cold and snowy here and now:

  • For some awkwardly unknown reason, writing these blog posts is very technically awkward for me these days —   my cursor is awkwardly freezing; linking to other sites, fixing typos, etc. are now all awkwardly and unexpectedly difficult;  and I am awkwardly thrown out of each post I’m composing at least once.  I awkwardly don’t know who to blame …  WordPress, my laptop, or me.  Here’s an non-awkward solution: I shall blame nobody and just keep awkwardly posting on.
  • With post creation here more obviously awkward and difficult for me, I’m awkwardly catastrophizing that WordPress might awkwardly go away some day, AND WILL ALL MY HUNDREDS OF POSTS DISAPPEAR, TOO?  That would be VERY awkward.
  • I awkwardly read a WordPress post by another blogger whose name I’ve awkwardly forgotten the other day that put that catastrophic scenario of LOSING EVERYTHING awkwardly into my head, but when I tried to follow the instructions for saving all of my awkward and non-awkward posts for posterity, that awkwardly did NOT work.
  • I can easily feel awkward in new situations, so I may very well feel some awkwardness when I awkwardly encounter all the adventures ahead of me for the next two weeks in California. I believe I am awkwardly ready enough for all that.
  • Yesterday, when I was awkwardly looking at the awkward weather forecast for the Boston area (which included ANOTHER !*!!(@)!!!?@ AWKWARD BLIZZARD), it seemed like the timing of that blizzard might awkwardly delay the flight later today that my son and I have been awkwardly anticipating for several weeks. For now, I am awkwardly keeping my awkward fingers crossed.
  • That next awkwardly anticipated blizzard has already caused the awkward public transportation system in the Boston area to totally and awkwardly shut down for tomorrow, Sunday. That’s going to make things awkward for a lot of people.

Here’s another awkward segue: After I got home from work, yesterday, my downstairs neighbor Karen’s dog, Faxy, ran upstairs into our apartment and had a close-if-not-awkward encounter with our very non-awkward cat, Oscar. I would feel very awkward if I did not show you some of these pictures, as I promised Karen yesterday I would, but it’s awkward for me to decide which ones of the many photos I awkwardly took yesterday to awkwardly share with you now.

IMG_5459 IMG_5462 IMG_5463 IMG_5465 IMG_5467 IMG_5468 IMG_5469 IMG_5471 IMG_5479 IMG_5481 IMG_5486 IMG_5491

That last awkward photo includes the awkwardly elusive and shy Harley under the table, who actually seemed to feel LESS awkward with a STRANGE DOG than he does with two of the humans who live with him (including one who actually CHOSE AND RESCUED HIM FROM THE SHELTER).


Here is one more awkward image I noticed last night:


That’s an awkward birthday card I unexpectedly received from one of my old college roommates, Nancy. I just tried to change the awkward sideways orientation of that photo the way I usually do, but that didn’t work.


Would it be awkward for me to ask you what awkward music you might include in this awkward post?

Last night, I decided to choose this song, which has some awkward lyrics about California:

Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald are singing “The Lady is a Tramp” here at YouTube.

I shall now awkwardly ask, again, for any comments, awkward or not.

Thanks to all awkward and non-awkward humans, animals, weather systems, and computer interfaces who/that (awkward!) helped me compose this here awkward post and I hope it doesn’t seem awkward that I’m particularly grateful to YOU, for visiting today.

Categories: blogging, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 533: Secrets to interpersonal effectiveness

I don’t like to keep secrets. If I know something valuable, I like to share it, out loud.

And I do know some valuable information about interpersonal effectiveness, because I:

  • am a licensed psychotherapist,
  • have lived many decades, and
  • am an eager observer and student of behaviors.

Shall we begin?

Secret #1:  It helps to know your own natural interpersonal style.

If you know and embrace your natural interpersonal style — that which you (1) demonstrated as a child and (2)  will likely revert to during times of stress,  matter how old you are  — you have more freedom to modulate it, as you choose. This gives you more options to respond effectively, in the moment, to particular people and situations.

My natural interpersonal style is to be transparent. That is, I don’t like secrets, I like to show my thoughts and feelings, and I often explain my motives in the moment.

I’m going to be transparent, right now, about some here-to-fore hidden agendas for the blog post today:

  1. I wanted to write about a topic that felt important to me and
  2. I wanted to show you all a bunch of cool photos I took yesterday.

Actually, perhaps those agendas weren’t so hidden, since I pretty much demonstrate the same ones in most of the friggin’ posts I’ve written here, at least over the past year.

I like being transparent. Revealing my motives, thoughts, and feelings frees me up. Keeping my motives, thoughts, and feelings hidden feels exhausting and disconnecting to me.

However, if I don’t appropriately  adjust that natural style of mine to the current moment — or if I disown, judge, or am unconscious of that natural style —  that  style might have too much power over me.  I will likely go to extremes, rather than achieving balance. That is, I may  alternate between revealing too much, experiencing guilt and shame about that, and then withdrawing into isolation. Also, if I’m not aware of and sensitive to another’s natural (and perhaps very different) style, that will interfere with the connection.

For example, in the (inter)personal world of felines:


Oscar (foreground) likes closeness and Harley (background) prefers space, so my interacting the same way with them would interfere in the connections. And, using a photo from yesterday’s post, here’s a priority, for me:


I might assume that E.M. Forster, whose quote is used so cleverly in that sign, had a similar natural style to me … but who knows?

I’m wondering, at this point, if you know what your natural interpersonal style is.  In order to help you with that answer, I should probably give you a list of natural styles.  However, I am not aware of the existence of such a list, in the moment, and I want to show you these cool pictures, before I leave for work.   So, I hope you can put words on your own natural style, and reveal it here (if you choose).

Ah!a  I just used my natural interpersonal style of transparency, there, again.  And it felt … good!

Onward to the best I can do, this morning, making up secrets and showing off photos.

Secret #2:  Let other people know how you feel, authentically and respectfully.


Secret #3: Honor the past and the future — for yourself and others — but be present as much as you can, with the people who are there for you now.



Secret #4: Leave space and look for for your own and others’ strengths, and for personal  growth and creative expression, too.


and closer (up top) …


Secret #5: Be curious and inquisitive, with good intent:


Secret # 6: Leave time and space for yourself and others to just be:



Secret #7: Allow for love, every day, in different ways:



Speaking of love, I would love to tell you more about my friend Jan, who practices as a nurse, where I work. But I need to leave,  so I can see Jan and others throughout my day. So I’ll end with this:

Secret #8: Prioritize, as best you can, balancing your needs with others.

Thanks to E.M. Forster, beautiful creatures of every kind, Jan, Sam (from “Under the Gunn“), all those who do their best to connect no matter what their natural interpersonal styles and — of course! — to you, for interacting with me here, today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 39 Comments

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