Posts Tagged With: coping and healing groups

Day 1629: What helps and what doesn’t help

When I help people join my therapy groups, I tell them we will work on doing more of what helps and less of what doesn’t help. I help people understand that by saying, “What helps and what doesn’t help  might include thoughts, behaviors,  and other people.”  Because it helps to change old habits by writing things down, I helpfully suggest they keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help them.

Because it helps to know you’re not alone, I explain that I also keep track of what helps and what doesn’t help me.

What helps me?

  • Acceptance.
  • Love.
  • Creativity.
  • Flexibility.
  • Peace.
  • Connection.
  • Nature.
  • Forgiveness.
  • Blogging.
  • My work.
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Groups.
  • Mutual healing.
  • Curiosity.
  • Openness.
  • Authenticity.
  • Music.

 

What doesn’t help me?

Does it help to look at these photos?

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What also helps me is gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1565: Renewal

Last night, in my “Coping and Healing” therapy group, somebody suggested we focus on  the topic of “Renewal.”

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I asked, “What helps give you a sense of renewal?”  The answers included:

  • Spring
  • Gardens
  • Trees
  • Being near large bodies of water
  • Nature
  • Animals
  • Group
  • Travel
  • Friends
  • Showers
  • Good books
  • Good films
  • The movie Arrival
  • Running
  • Good memories
  • Being in the moment
  • Sleep
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Taking action
  • Humor
  • Art
  • Telling stories
  • Listening to other people’s stories
  • Mindfulness
  • Church
  • Prayers
  • Music

Speaking of music, here‘s the first thing that comes up on YouTube for “renewal”:

What renews you?

I didn’t mention “blogging” last night at the group, but this blog gives me renewal, every day.

Do you see renewal in any of my other photos from yesterday?

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Did you know that comments from my readers are another personal source of renewal?

Every day, I renew my gratitude for all who help me create this daily blog and — of course! — for you.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 1173: Feeling lucky?

Feeling lucky?

I’m feeling lucky.

I feel lucky that, every day, I find lucky inspirations for my lucky blog posts, like this lucky sign I saw early yesterday on a lucky Saint Patrick’s Day morning:

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Even though I didn’t win a prize from any pots of gold, I feel lucky that:

  • I’ve got a lucky number of consistent and kind readers here at lucky WordPress.
  • I do group and individual therapy at a luckily large and well-known teaching hospital in lucky Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
  • My lucky 18 year old son, Aaron, is luckily healthy, happy, and wise.
  • My lucky boyfriend Michael is lucky enough to have met lucky me.
  • I’m seeing my lucky cardiologist, Dr. Mark Estes, today, who luckily knows more about pacemakers than almost anybody else in this lucky world of ours.
  • Today is Friday, which makes a lot of working people feel lucky.

On lucky Thursdays, I am lucky enough to facilitate two therapy groups. Here are all the other photos I was lucky enough to capture yesterday, in lucky chronological order:

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While I didn’t order Lucky Hydrox yesterday, I was still lucky enough to

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sing from my heart, as I was walking to and from my lucky workplace.

Here’s one lucky song I was lucky enough to be singing, yesterday, with all my heart:

When I sang “Soothe” on my tryout for The Voice  last month, I wasn’t lucky enough to make it to the show. However, next month I’ll be lucky enough to sing “Soothe” for my fellow social workers at our lucky yearly party.

Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see and hear a recording of me singing it, here.

I hope I’m lucky enough to get lots of lucky comments today.

Lucky thanks to all my lucky readers!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1090: What’s ahead

Yesterday, I saw this ahead of my iPhone at my boyfriend’s brother’s home in Norfolk, Massachusetts:

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And like this evocative image (which was ahead of me at work last week) (and which is ahead of you, again, if you read this recent blog post) …

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… that image of what’s ahead reminded me of my brand new business card.

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Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll explain that my new business card is for therapy groups which I hope will be ahead for people outside my usual practice at a major Boston teaching hospital.

What’s ahead, now,  is my telling you that people who have seen that image on my business card have had different reactions, including:

  • “That looks very calming.”
  • “I love it!”
  • “What’s that picture saying about what’s ahead?”
  • “Could you turn that into a bridge?”
  • “That shows a leap of faith.”
  • “I guess that means that therapy is a dead end.”
  • “Congratulations!”
  • “Maybe you should have a boat waiting at the end of that.”
  • “Are you saying that after working with you people will be able to walk on water?”
  • “That reflects the uncertainty of the future.”
  • “Give me a handful of those so I can give them out to patients.”

What’s ahead, now, are these questions: What are  your reactions to and associations with the image on my business card?  If you wanted to convey to people that what lies ahead includes hope, coping, and healing, what  kind of picture might you use?

What’s ahead, now, are these other images from yesterday, Christmas Day:

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None of us know what’s ahead for us in the future, but what’s ahead for me might include printing up more business cards. If I do, should I replace that stock photo on my card with any of those photos I took yesterday at three different family homes?

What’s ahead now is simply gratitude for all I encountered yesterday and for all that’s ahead of me, tomorrow.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, taking a risk | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 971: You just never know

On Thursday evening, a long-time participant in my Coping and Healing groups — after listening to what other members were sharing and discussing — offered this  helpful conclusion:

You just never know.

You just never know what somebody else intends to communicate, but I felt like I knew what that person meant.

You just never know:

  • what is going to happen next,
  • another person’s experience,
  • why people make the choices they do,
  • another person’s thoughts,
  • all the feelings somebody else is having,
  • how and why other people behave the ways they do,
  • what our leaders are thinking,
  • how everything that happens might have an effect,
  • how other people see you,
  • what it’s like to be another creature on this earth,
  • how to keep up with rapidly evolving technology,
  • how we’re all going to survive,
  • how to make meaning out of senseless cruelty,
  • how people go on after traumatic experiences,
  • what beauty you are going to encounter,
  • how kind strangers can be,
  • how much time we have in this world,
  • what the heck I’m going to blog about any given day, and
  • which images are going to capture my attention, as I make my way through this world.

For example,

… you just never know what I’m going to bring back from Scotland.
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You just never know what’s going to show up outside a hospital gift shop.

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You just never know what beautiful natural scenes exist close to where you are.

If you know anything about me from reading this blog, you probably know that I’ll be doing my darnedest to get outside for lunch on a Friday. You might also know, if you’re a long time and faithful reader,  that my Friday lunch choice, from the cafeteria where I work, is kick-ass macaroni and cheese (not pictured).

You just never know what people are going to say at a goodbye party, although that usually includes words of appreciation never before spoken. After I took that last picture above, I witnessed many others expressing love and hopes for my wonderful co-worker, Mary, who is retiring from our hospital-based practice.  Mary, when saying goodbye to me in front of everybody, mentioned Friday macaroni and cheese! You just never know how well somebody can get to know you, in only four years. I told people at that going-away party that if I didn’t know I would definitely see Mary after she leaves next week, I knew I’d be bursting into tears.

You just never know how many connections you’re going to make in one day.


  
  
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You just never know what  amazing things you’re going to see when you’re spending time with somebody you love.


  
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And you just never know when the inspiration for a blog post title is going to hit. Yesterday, on my drive home to spend Friday evening with my boyfriend Michael, I noticed something I’d  never known before, and I pulled over to the side of the road to photograph it:

    
  

You just never know when a local marching band is going to appear on a main street.

You just never know when auto-correct is going to slow you down — it just took me many attempts and minutes to write “Main Street” in that last paragraph without initial capitals.

You just never know when I’m going to give up fighting auto-correct.

You just never know what music I’m going to choose on a Saturday.

You just never know when a beloved friend is going to raise you up by inviting you to go to a musical, like my friend Barbara did yesterday. Six hours from now, know that Barbara  and I will be at a matinee of Kinky Boots, in Boston.

You just never know how others are going to comment on something you create. I guess we’ll find out, below!

Unknowing and knowing thanks to those who helped me create this post today and to you — of course! — for all you know.

Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Day 907: Groups

Where we live, we’ve been invaded lately by groups of tiny ants.

Yesterday morning, before I left to do therapy groups at work, I grouped these words together in an email to my bf Michael:

Subject: Cinnamon Girl

Hi sweetheart,

The ants were attacking particularly ferociously this morning, so I researched natural repellents for ants. Several people said ground cinnamon worked well. So if you see red sprinkles when you’re cleaning, IT’S MY FAULT. (People did particularly note that ground cinnamon was easy to clean up.)

Love,
Ann

Here’s a group of things I’m noticing now about that email:

  • If I had included a video of “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young, I could have added that email — as is — to my group of 906 daily blog posts.
  • I included a group of two of the same word — “particularly” — within a small group of words.
  • How does a group of tiny ants attack “ferociously”?

On my way to work, I didn’t notice groups of ants, but I took this group of photos:

            

Soon after I took that last group shot, the woman holding one of a group of Infiniti barriers stopped me and asked:

Are you with the group?

Here’s a group of things I could have replied:

Yes.

What group do you mean?

We are all with groups.

Are you?

Instead, I grouped together a “No,” a laugh, and an eyeroll, since nobody has ever asked me that question nor has rerouted me before, in all the groups of times I’ve walked the same group of Fenway streets over the last four years.

Here’s the group of shots I took for the rest of the day, thinking about groups I do and do not belong to:

 

Here are some groups I belong to:

  • People who love groups.
  • People who love to walk.
  • People who take groups of pictures, every day.
  • People who cast shadows.
  • People who can read upside down.
  • People who love bright colors.
  • People who can worry.
  • People who have issues with sleep.

Here are some groups I do not belong to:

  • People who drink Coca Cola (or any other soft drink).
  • People who park on sidewalks.
  • People who ride bikes.
  • People who ride scooters.
  • People who tend gardens.
  • People who explain all their photos in their blog posts.

There is one group, of those listed directly above, that I wish I were a member of. Can you guess which group that is?

I’m going to group together another guess request, here and now. Can you guess which song — among the group of myriad possibilities — I’m including in this post?

Neil Young is performing “Cinnamon Girl” with a group of other musicians on YouTube.

Now I’m wondering what group of comments I’m going to get about this post.

Group thanks to all the groups in this post (even the ants) and special thanks to you — of course! — for reading this today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 40 Comments

Day 906: Everything is an opportunity 

Everything is an opportunity

is one of my beliefs about life.

I don’t always feel that way, especially when

everything is an excruciating pain

but, even then, I’ll come around to the belief that

everything is an opportunity

sooner than later.

Allow me to take this opportunity to explain why

Everything is an opportunity

is the post topic for today.

  1. I had EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy yesterday, which is giving me the opportunity to let go of some old, painful memories.
  2. Yesterday, after a therapy group I facilitated, one of the group members  and I discussed the unique structure of my groups, including the resulting challenges AND opportunities.
  3. Yesterday, my iPhone became mute, inexplicably taking the opportunity to stop all sounds,  including music.

After I took the opportunity to search the web for quick and dirty fixes for my phone, my phone’s continuing silence gave me opportunities to:

  • pay more attention, visually, during my walks to and from work and
  • go to the Burlington Mall yesterday evening, with my boyfriend Michael, to get my phone fixed.

As usual, I took the opportunity to document these opportunities, through the still-working eye of my iPhone:

                                                                                  
Allow me to take this opportunity to tell you that my iPhone is now fixed. The nice Verizon rep (whom I did not take the opportunity to photograph) did a “soft reset” on my phone, and now I can listen to music again.

Speaking of music, I shall now take this opportunity to include some music here. But what elite ideas do I have about that? Will my choice — or the song — be quick and easy? Will I leave dirt at the door? Should I choose a song about numbers? Is there a tune called “Splat Ball”? Or “Soft Reset”?

What I usually do — when I choose music for a post — is take the opportunity to share something that came up on my iPhone the day before. However, since you’ve taken the opportunity to read this post, you know there was no such music yesterday.

However, because I had no music on my iPhone, I took the opportunity to listen to some music on my car radio. And I heard the ending of a song with these lyrics:

Your heart never stops beating
I love you long after you’re gone

I took the opportunity to write those lyrics down, but I didn’t get the opportunity to find out the name of the song or the performer(s):

When taking the opportunity to search the opportunistic web for the first line of those lyrics, I found this:

Let me take the opportunity to say that was not what I heard on the radio yesterday, but I appreciate the opportunity to hear and share “Shellshock” by New Order.

When I took the opportunity to Google both lines of the lyrics I heard yesterday, I found this:

I’m glad I had the opportunity to share “Gone Gone Gone” by Phillip Phillips today, along with everything else in this post.

If you take the oppprtunity to share your thoughts and feelings here, I’ll write an answer, as soon as I have the opportunity.

I love the opportunity to thank everybody and everything that gave me the opportunity to write today’s post. And — of course! — thank you, for taking the opportunity to read it.

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

Day 900: The opposite of empathy

Last night at a therapy group, we talked about many things, including personal injuries and the horrific murders in a Charleston, South Carolina church.

As usual, the topics covered the board in the group room.

At one point, I said to the group members, “It looks like we’re talking about the opposite of empathy. What is the word for that?”

And then we all struggled, together, to come up with one word to describe the overriding theme in the room — a word that could do justice to the pain people had suffered. We were able to put some words on how it felt to encounter a lack of empathy, but it was difficult to come up with one word for the opposite of empathy.

I didn’t take a picture of the whiteboard, with the words we tried, but I do remember these:

  • Non-sympathy
  • Coldness
  • Shamelessness
  • Heartlessness
  • Evil

One of the group members used her phone to look up antonyms of empathy, which were only three:

  1. Apathy
  2. Misunderstanding
  3. Unfeelingness

Here are some more words I wrote down — after that group discussion — about my personal experience with the opposite of empathy:

The opposite of empathy

I don’t know what word to put on it

I know it when I encounter it.

The first time I did, it

was a Resident named Hyatt

at Children’s Hospital.

I was 10

in pain

and he said

“You are not in pain

You are a spoiled brat

And you are taking our time

away from children who are

really sick.”

My response was

HELPLESSNESS and

then finding a

doctor or nurse

empathic enough

to listen to me,

to believe me,

and, using their skill and power,

to stop the pain.

I wonder what happened

to Dr. Hyatt?

Did he learn and get

better at dealing with

children in pain?

I HOPE SO!!!

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Here are some photos I took yesterday, before and after I learned about the killings in Charleston:


                                                                      
Here’s one I took today:


Just as the group last night had trouble finding one word for the opposite of empathy, I’m having trouble finding one piece of music for this post.

Here’s one that was playing last night, as I walked back to my car, after the group:

I found “Tears of Rain,” performed by Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny,  Roy Haynes, and Dave Holland, on YouTube.

What words or music might you choose, for the opposite of empathy?

My gratitude to all  who contributed to my writing this post and to you — as always — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , | 45 Comments

Day 887: G is for Groups

G is for groups, which I believe are quite healing,

P is for photos I hope are appealing,


                      

E is for Excellence — for which I am striving,

W is for workshop, 12 people arriving,


K is for Karen, the coolest of neighbors,


L is for Love and is also for Labors,

N is for Now and I’m ready to say,

Gee, my group workshop is happening today.

Here are more letters, appearing in song:

I love the idea of you singing along!

Thanks to you all as I go and prepare
For a workshop I dare to declare more than fair.*


* A is for Ann — Announcing Aspirations for Awesome!

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

Day 881: Faces and numbers

Let’s face it, my dear readers (with dear faces), facing my life experiences through this daily blog of 881 posts has helped me face a lot, over the last 29 months.

On the face of it, I like numbers. I find that knowing numbers often helps me face things.

Here are some numbers that would help me face the near future:

  1. The number of faces who will be looking at me during my conference workshop on my therapy groups, in 6 days,
  2. The number of workshop packets I need to make over the next 5 days (equal to or greater than the number in #1, above),
  3. Numbers regarding the therapy groups I’ve been doing, over the last 43 months, that will put impressed or otherwise positive faces on that unknown number of workshop participants (see #1, above).
  4. Figuring out how to get more than 5 hours of sleep a night, so I can face each day with a well-rested face.

Here are some numbers I faced over this past weekend:

  1. My #1 son (and only child), Aaron, faced 3 audiences of many faces over the last 2 days, in the 1-act  play he wrote and  directed with 1 other person (his close friend Cameron) and which he also acted in, with 9 other people.
  2. My happy face saw all 3 performances.
  3. After the performances, I faced more than 30 smiling faces telling Aaron how much they loved the play.
  4. Let’s face it, I also loved the play, to the nth degree.
  5. Aaron and Cameron’s 1-act play included way more than these 7 plot elements: (1) Aaron’s High School Economics textbook, (2) the economist who wrote that textbook, N. Gregory Mankiw (whom Aaron invited to attend,  with 1 email), (3)  Satan (played by 1 of Aaron’s closest friends Clark), (4) God, (5) at least 3 levels of economics, (6) 1 large nuclear warhead hidden under 1 brown cloth and (7) 1 giant abacus (which is an ancient counting device).
  6. At least 8 people I love saw Aaron’s play,  including my 1 sister, my sister’s spouse Linda, my childhood friend Barbara, my ex-sister-in-law Deborah, Deborah’s daughter Laura, Laura’s daughter Victoria, Aaron’s father Leon, and — last but not least — my boyfriend Michael.
  7. Before I saw 2 performances of 6 1-act plays yesterday,  my #1 hair stylist, Mia, gave me 1 awesome haircut and 1 purple hair extension.

Here are 27 photos from yesterday:


                          
               

                    

I have 1 more story to tell you, today, about faces and numbers.

Yesterday, while I was taking 20 of the photos shown in this post, the doorbell rang 1 time, where Aaron, Michael and I live. Aaron, who had been in the 1st performance of his play the night before, decided to answer it.

Aaron found a family of 4 — 1 mother, 1 father, and 2 children approximately 11 or 12 years old — at our door. They gave Aaron 2 pamphlets:


About 2 minutes into Aaron’s conversation with this family of 4, he realized he was still wearing most of his makeup from the 1st night’s performance of his 1-act play. Here’s 1 photo of that makeup (shown in this blog for the 2nd time):

What would be your 1st guess about what happened during Aaron’s conversation with 4 Jehovah’s Witnesses, with 1 cross on his forehead and tears of blood running from his 2 eyes?

According to my #1 son, all 5 people spent  5 minutes with each other ….

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… and not 1 person said 1 word about Aaron’s face.

What number of words might you say about THAT (or anything else in this post)?

1 more thing to face here: A musical number.

That’s “God Bless the Child,” performed live by Blood, Sweat and Tears for 7 minutes and 53 seconds  (with over 300,000 views on YouTube).

Countless thanks to the large numbers of faces — especially Aaron’s — that helped me create today’s post. And a huge number of thanks to you — of course! — for spending minutes of your precious time with me, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 43 Comments

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