I’m having trouble keeping up with many things these days, including
changes in technology,
the news, and
responding to all the wonderful people who engage with me through social media (here and on Twitter).
Let’s see if I’m keeping up with the latest definition of “keeping up.”
Keeping up with the first definition and with my role as a psychotherapist, I keep telling people not to keep comparing themselves with others, because that keeps them feeling bad about themselves. If you want to keep up with definitions of comparisons and other cognitive distortions (which I keep calling “automatic and unhelpful thoughts), I’m keeping those definitions here.
I’m keeping up with blogging every day by sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and the photos and other captured images I’m keeping up on my phone (which may explain why my phone is slowing down and having trouble keeping up with me these days) (but that’s not keeping me up at night).
Do you see keeping up in my images for today?
Today I’ll be keeping up with the National Days by seeking out my favorite flavor of ice cream, Rocky Road. Keeping up with National Leave the Office Early Day is challenging, since Thursdays I work late until 8, but I’m working from home (which I keep doing, except for Mondays, when I’m keeping up with work at the hospital).
Last night, I asked a question on Twitter about what people try to avoid:
The many interesting answers include COVID, toxic people, bullets, crowds, drinking, certain types of food, conflict, drama, and (of course!) last questions of the day. There is no avoiding the cleverness and resourcefulness of the people on Twitter.
I notice we humans also try to avoid difficult feelings, like grief — which is a problem during these grief-inducing times. I believe we need to welcome all our feelings as a way to move through them. Even though I’ve shared it before, I will not avoid presenting this wonderful poem by Rumi:
I’ve also observed that people can avoid taking action — for fear of failure, mistakes, or a “wrong” decision. When I feel frozen by fear (a state I try to avoid), I move forward by reminding myself to avoid that very human tendency for all-or-nothing thinking. Most decisions are not 100% wrong or right, after all. I’m not going to avoid making mistakes and I can usually correct for a decision that isn’t great. I don’t avoid reminding myself, over and over again, that failure is a construct and that my missteps are not the end of the world.
At the same time, I avoid voting for the wrong people because these days that could definitely be the end of the world.
I’m not avoiding sharing my latest images with you.
Coincidentally, I try to avoid assholes, kale, and bacon.
Here’s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “what we try to avoid.”
I hope you don’t avoid the comments section, below, and I never avoid expressing gratitude for all those who help me blog every day, including YOU!
That got me thinking: Who IS responsible for damage?
I’m responsible for having conflicting thoughts about this question.
If we focus on blame (which is also a cognitive distortion), that can get in the way of moving forward with next steps for solutions. But if we don’t take responsibility, we’re likely to remain stuck in old patterns.
Maybe we can be responsible for our own lives — mistakes and all — AND resist getting stuck in blame and finger-pointing.
Who’s responsible for the images in today’s post?
People sometimes ask me who’s responsible for those National and International Days, and the truth is that I don’t know. But I’m celebrating National Scribble Day by being responsible for this daily scribble of a blog.
Another one of my favorite “wastes of time” these days is the TV show Ted Lasso.
When I saw my Primary Care Doctor recently, she told me she’s watched both seasons of Ted Lasso many times and how that’s been helping her get through the pandemic. I completely trust my doctor, so I’m taking that TV Rx and I’m loving it.
Predicting the future is difficult for us humans to resist.
In my therapy groups, we talk about recognizing and letting go of the common cognitive distortion of fortune-telling. When we catch ourselves predicting the future (which happens every group), we remind ourselves that we are NOT psychic.
And yet, every person I know predicts the future in one way or another. It’s as if uncertainty is more uncomfortable than deciding what’s going to happen like we know for certain. Which we don’t.
Since the beginning of this New Year, my husband Michael and I have been trying not to predict the future. Ha! My prediction is that we will keep predicting, no matter how we consciously try not to.
Last night, we watched a movie that seemed very good, I thought, at predicting the future — Don’t Look Up.
After we watched it, I, of course, tried predicting the future, by saying this to Michael:
I think that movie might help people realize what’s going on and make things better for the future.
Would anybody like to predict what Michael said or did in response to that?
He rolled his eyes.
Because certain things always happen in this blog, it’s safe predicting the future if you predict the appearance of my latest images.
I’m predicting a future where somebody on Twitter will bitch about my posting the National Days there, which I do every day.
Sometimes our experience of the past leads to better predictions, but not always! For example, I’m holding out hope that the U.S. midterms elections won’t follow the patterns of the past. If they do, I’ll be trying hard not to predict a very bleak future ahead.
I’m predicting that some of you will leave comments below.
Did anybody predict what song I’m going to include today?
Whether or not you predicted it, there’s gratitude in your immediate future.
The story of today’s blog post starts with this photo that I snapped yesterday at the supermarket:
I took that when my husband Michael and I (who recently had our second wedding anniversary) were doing our weekly food shopping. The story of us at that supermarket was our wearing N95 masks because of the Omnicron variant while many people (including those who worked at the supermarket) were not wearing any masks at all .
The story of us human beings has to include our working together to survive pandemics and global warming without destroying the stories of too many other species.
The story of us is a very anxiety-provoking story these days.
Do you see the story of us in my other images for today?
The story of us often includes our trying to read each other’s minds (a common human cognitive distortion, described here), but I cannot even try to read the minds of people who don’t wear masks in supermarkets.
The story of me today includes my going in to the hospital to listen to other people’s stories in therapy sessions. I’ll be doing my best to stay safe so I can continue the story of us in this daily blog.
The story of us always includes my gratitude for all who follow my story here, including YOU.
What I’ve been writing includes several new songs, like “Spoiler Alert” and “Forgettable.” What I’ve been writing for song lyrics over the years usually reflects my optimistic nature; however, these are the darker words I’ve been writing this morning:
I’m Afraid to Look
I’m afraid to look at the ocean for fear that it’s dying
I’m afraid to look at the earth but I can’t look away.
I’m afraid to look at myself in the mirror
And afraid to look at my friends for what their faces might say.
Perhaps what I’ve been writing for that song is influenced by the darkness of the winter solstice and by what others are writing about the future.
What I’ve been writing also includes these Tweets:
What I’m writing could never compare to the stories people are discussing on that Twitter thread about stories they liked when they were kids. But as I’ve written on this blog many times, comparisons are the most toxic of all the cognitive distortions (which I’ve written about, here).
What I’m writing, here and now, is this blog post, so it’s time to share my latest photos.
What the Daily Bitch is writing there reminds me of the series “Landscapers,” which has some of the best writing for any television show I’ve seen.