Yesterday, people in my Coping and Healing group said they were dealing with too much.
There was too much
It didn’t take too much time for people in the group to understand, connect, and support each other.
People talked about death, a topic some find too much to take on. The person who had used the term “too much” early in the group asked the group this question: “How would you choose to die?” While a few people found that question too much to answer, several people said they would choose to die in their sleep. Because I have too much fear of heights, I wondered if my choice were to be leaping off a tremendous height, soaring all the way down, that might ease my acrophobia.
Sometimes I think I’m too much.
Let’s see if there’s too much in my photos today.
Because Jet Blue charges too much to check a bag, I’m not taking too much with me to Nashville.
Yesterday in my therapy group, people shared worst feelings, including disappointment in oneself and disappointment in others. At the end of the group, members said that sharing those feelings and realizing they were not alone helped them feel better.
Do you see worst feelings, best feelings, and in-between feelings in today’s images?
Are you the master of your feelings, besides being the master of your judgments, decisions, and actions? Do you let ALL feelings flow through you, without judgment?
Speaking of feelings, here is the saddest song I’ve ever heard:
As I like to say in my group, all feelings are welcome.
One of the best feelings is gratitude, so thanks to all who visit this blog, including YOU.
Why did the late, great Professor Irwin Corey break down “Why” questions into two parts, where the first part was just “Why?” (which he could not really answer) and the second part was the rest of the question, which he simply answered “YES!”?
Let’s see how that works for today’s post, shall we?
The first part of all the questions I’ve asked today is Why?” “Why?” is a question that philosophers have been asking for millenniums. We all want to make meaning of what happens to us, and therefore we cry “Why?” from our souls into the world. “Why?” is ultimately unanswerable, especially by a humble person like me.
Now for the second parts of my “Why?” questions today:
Is “Why?” the title of my blog post today?
Do people ask “Why?” in my Coping and Healing groups?
Do songs pop into my head so easily?
Are those songs often Beatles songs?
Did I take all of these photos?
Am I posting a photo of our late great cat Oscar today?
Did I order a book about Nashville?
Am I sometimes not wearing a mask outdoors?
Is there a mound of dirt in front of the local church?
Do I like taking pictures of animals wherever I go?
Did somebody hang an American flag and make it more difficult for people to get in their front door?
Do some vaccination locations in Boston give out cool buttons while others don’t?
Am lucky enough to have a now-vaccinated husband who makes delicious meals like sablefish with figs?
Do I often take photos of Yogi tea sayings?
Do I love the Daily Bitch Calendar?
Does Harley love his favorite dry cat food, scorning EVERYTHING else except for popcorn?
Am I engaging on Twitter these days?
Did the late, great Professor Irwin Corey break down “Why” questions into two parts, where the first part was just “Why?” (which he could not really answer) and the second part was the rest of the question, which he simply answered “YES!”?
The answer to all those questions is “YES!”
Why do I ask for comments and express gratitude at the end of my blog posts?
Last week, in a Coping and Healing group, I did a mindfulness exercise where I invited people to go to a calm place — remembered, imagined, or where they actually were in the moment. Most of the calm places involved water.
My calm place was exactly where I was: my son’s old room, in front of a computer screen filled with group members. Using mindfulness — focusing on your breath and doing your best to be in the moment, accepting all your thoughts and constantly redirecting your attention to the here and now, letting go of judgment — your calm place can be exactly where you are.
I’m in my calm place here and now, creating this blog post for you and me. Do you see calm places in today’s images?
Yesterday, I was thinking about how terrified I’ve been over the last five years, starting with medical experts in May 2016 insisting I needed something that had terrified me for decades — open heart surgery. Terrified as I was, I survived that, only to encounter U.S. political developments that terrified the world as well as many personal losses.
Now that I’m feeling safer, I’m allowing myself to admit how terrified I really was, letting go of terror I’ve been holding, day by day.
Here are my images from yesterday, including photos of an often terrified cat.
Yesterday, I mentioned safe enough spaces at the end of my post. I deliberately did not write “safe spaces” because no spaces are completely safe. In every space, we take risks if we expose our vulnerability and humanity. The more we do that, the more we make the space safe enough for others.
I try to make my Coping and Healing groups safe enough spaces, and yesterday people felt safe enough to share conflicting opinions about getting the COVID vaccines. We all survived our differences and people felt safe enough to stay connected with each other.
Later in the day, I felt safe enough to finally make it to the safe enough sand bar I can see from my home (and which I felt safe enough to write about earlier this week in this post).
Many times, I have tried to get to that safe enough sand bar by unsuccessfully trying to locate its starting point across the safe-enough bay. Yesterday, I had the brilliant and long-overdue idea to walk through some water during low tide and access the sand bar from its end point near me.
Instead of telling myself, “WHY DIDN’T YOU THINK OF THIS BEFORE?”, I made my mind a safe enough space by enjoying the experience, moment by moment.
I hope you feel safe enough to accompany me on this adventure through safe enough spaces.
I discovered that I had been SO CLOSE to discovering the beginning point of the sand bar on a previous exploration, but had turned back when I saw that “no trespassing sign, which made the space not safe enough.
If I had felt safe enough to keep exploring past that scary sign (which referred to something else), I would have discovered the beginning of the sand bar months ago. I feel safe enough to share, here and now, that I trust my process and am happy it happened exactly the way it did.
Do you see safe enough spaces in the rest of my images today?
I assume that this is a safe enough space to share that I am Jewish and that I will start celebrating Passover in an unconventional way starting at sundown tonight.
Today’s blog post is inspired by the Daily Bitch, who helps me get through this difficult time.
During this difficult time, I will post my latest images.
During this difficult time, I’ve been facilitating five remote Coping and Healing groups each week and I’ll be adding a sixth one next Friday. In yesterday’s Coping and Healing group, I asked people who were experiencing this difficult time to use their sense of touch for a mindfulness exercise, focusing on something soft and comforting. I chose Harley’s favorite cat toy, pictured above.
I also suggested that people get through this difficult time by being especially kind to themselves.
Music helps me get through this difficult time. When I search YouTube for “Pat Metheny this difficult time,” I find this:
During this difficult time, it helps to believe that there are “Better Days Ahead.”
What are your thoughts and feelings about this difficult time?
During this difficult time, I am especially grateful for people like YOU.
For some unknown reason, I’m having this difficult time uploading and publishing this difficult time post. During this difficult time, I’ll just keep trying, while being especially kind to myself.
Yesterday, in both my Coping and Healing groups, people shared what they were looking forward to.
I’m looking forward to:
another Coping and Healing group today,
Michael’s stroganoff for dinner,
walks by the water,
being in the moment,
letting go of regrets about the past and worries about the future,
accepting all feelings, and
sharing my images from the last two days.
One of my biggest fears used to be singing and playing imperfectly in front of people. I’ve done so much work on that I am truly looking forward to singing “Vaccinated Women” to the tune of “Fascinating Rhythm” tonight at an Open Mic. I’m also looking forward to sharing that imperfect performance with you tomorrow.
Here’s an imperfect performance of mine from two years ago in LA at the great Ron Lynch’s “Tomorrow” show:
What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to your comments, below.
If you’re looking forward to my gratitude to you for showing up here today, here it is!