Posts Tagged With: empathy

Day 3735: Are you okay?

Yesterday, on OK day, I figured it would be okay to ask people on Twitter a question related to that — like “what helps you feel okay?” — and I decided to go with a simple yes or no question: “Are you okay?”

While I usually think yes-or-no questions are just okay and not as good as open-ended questions, I went with “are you okay?” probably because I really would have appreciated hearing that question at difficult moments in my life. As a matter of fact, I wrote a blog post many years ago when I was not so okay, citing these “are you okay” lyrics from the song “Smooth Criminal”:

I truly wish people had asked me “Are you okay?” (repeatedly, without taking “yes” for an answer) when I was a brave little girl in the hospital not admitting how scary it was to be experiencing many heart-related surgeries.

And I like hearing “Are you okay?” as an adult, because it tells me that people care enough to ask and hear an honest answer.

Are you okay with this blog post so far and are you okay with these images I want to share with you today?

Are you okay with this video I found on YouTube by searching with “are you okay?

Are you okay? I really want to know.

Thanks to all who ask and answer the question “are you okay?” — including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3448: Unreal

So many things seem unreal to me these days, including:

  • how facts don’t seem to matter,
  • the level of denial about climate change,
  • the resistance to enacting common sense gun laws in the USA,
  • the power of greed,
  • some people’s priorities,
  • the daily news,
  • the passage of time,
  • reality shows, and
  • my many blessings.

Let’s see if there’s anything unreal in my images for today.

It’s unreal how many excuses people have for being late. I can’t be late today because I’m on call at the hospital starting at 9 AM, but I have time to search YouTube for “unreal.”

It’s unreal how before today I had never heard of Roxette and the late Marie Fredrikkson.

It’s unreal how grateful I am to all those who help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 3445: Wear BLUE Day

Today is Wear BLUE Day.

I will wear blue, because I support the men in my life to lead a healthy lifestyle, and I care about their well-being.

For example, I tell my husband Michael that I wish he would stop vaping, although I recognize that nicotine is very addictive.

Michael, who does all the cleaning and the cooking here, gets blue when he finds the shells of unsalted sunflower seeds (my chosen snack to lead a healthy lifestyle) around the house, so I’ve told him I will give up my beloved sunflower seeds forever if he stops vaping. I hope he takes me up on my offer, because I want Michael to live a long, long time.

Last night, over a delicious and healthy lifestyle dinner that Michael cooked …

… we talked about hiccups. Michael, who gets them when he eats bread, stated his opinion that everybody hates getting hiccups except for me. I thought of something that Michael often says to me: “Hate’s a strong word.” I told Michael that while I don’t love getting the hiccups, I find them a mild annoyance and assumed I was not alone. (I assume everyone is not alone about anything, which might be why I love being a group therapist.)

I realized that because I have so many followers on Twitter I could test my assumption about hiccups by asking this question:

And sure enough, many people hated having the hiccups but several found them only a mild annoyance. Michael laughed when I told him that somebody on Twitter got mad at me for asking what he thought was such a stupid question. (Being on Twitter has helped me get over my fear of people getting mad at me, which is good for my healthy lifestyle.)

I sometimes get blue when I think about how my wonderful late parents never got to meet true-blue Michael. I like to imagine all of us sitting around the dinner table — my father and Michael both being hilarious and my mother and Michael bonding about so many things, including cats and keeping a clean house.

Here are more images I want to share on Wear BLUE Day.


On Wear BLUE Day, I choose to share “12 String Blues” by Jimi Hendrix (who many people wish had lived a much longer life).

Thanks to you for reading this Wear BLUE Day blog and to all the men whose well-being I care about, including this one:

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 3435: Patterns

Human beings tend to see patterns. For example, I see the repeating pattern in today’s blog post number.

Our proclivity for patterns might explain people’s inclinations for conspiracy theories and other misguided cause-and-effect thinking (“gas prices and inflation are higher since Joe Biden took office, it’s his fault!”) Because there are pros and cons to everything (a pattern I see in the world), the tendency to see patterns can give us a sense of connection and it definitely serves artists well.

Do you see patterns in the many images in today’s post?

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “patterns.”

I also find this.

I have a pattern of noticing and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who help me create these daily posts, including YOU.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Day 3176: Moments of Peace

On days like this, I’m looking for moments of peace.

Can you find any moments of peace in my images for today?

On September 11, 2011, how can you find moments of peace?

Today, Joan seems to be finding more moments of peace with the cone she needs to wear as she recovers from ongoing mastitis (which we’ve been treating since we adopted her).

Other beings’ moments of peace increase my moments of peace.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “moments of peace.”

I am grateful for all the moments of peace I can find and I’m grateful for you!

Categories: cats, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Day 3035: Other people’s behaviors

People in my Coping and Healing groups yesterday focused on other people’s behaviors. These other people

  • ignore pandemic safety precautions like wearing masks and social distancing,
  • act like children,
  • violate requested limits and boundaries, and
  • were group members’ PARENTS.

When people talk to other people about other people’s behaviors in a support group, they realize they are not alone.

Other people’s behaviors are on my mind this morning, and I’m remembering something somebody said in group last night:

You can’t control other people’s behaviors; you can only control your reactions to them.

My Coping and Healing group, April 22, 2021

Can you see other people’s behaviors in any of today’s photos?

Harley, as he gets older, is less reactive to and scared of other people’s behaviors. Maybe he realizes he can only control his own behavior and that’s enough.

When I search YouTube for “other people’s behaviors,” I find this:

I very much appreciate Louise Evans’s behaviors in that 2017 Ted Talk, and I recommend that other people’s behaviors today include watching it whenever you can.

My behavior at the end of every post is to thank everyone whose behaviors help me create this daily blog, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2904: A moment for empathy

When I took a moment this morning for considering the topic of today’s blog post, I remembered a moment for empathy evoked by George Takei in his recent Twitter thread, as follows:

Speaking for myself and other empathic people I encounter in my groups and elsewhere, many of us are struggling to find our usual moments for empathy. People feel so angry, exhausted, frightened, anxious, sad, lost, isolated, helpless, and/or betrayed, that we need to re-commit, over and over again, to moments for empathy.

Are there moments for empathy in my recent photos?

Honk if you can find a moment for empathy among all the bullshit.

Here is George Takei finding many moments for empathy in his TED talk “Why I love a country that once betrayed me.”

Here’s one comment in response to George Takei’s momentous, empathic talk:

Patriotism is supporting your county all the time and your government when it deserves it.

Mark Twain

Let’s take a moment for another comment about George Takei’s moments for empathy:

I’m a pretty jaded guy. not much get to me. but man that story hit me right in the feels.

I am so grateful for people who can find a moment for empathy, here and now, including YOU.

Categories: 2020 U.S. Election, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 2622: I’m glad you exist

I’m glad you exist.



I’m glad my awesome bass-playing dentist, who sent me the message below, exists.


I’m glad I exist and could read this message from my dentist:

You’re doing something great and I’m glad you exist

I’m glad Rhys — the wonderfully welcoming, kind, and perceptive server at Junior’s in Times Square — exists.


I’m glad my iPhone exists so I could take all these other photos yesterday.



















I’m glad hope exists in so many places.

Here’s “I’m Glad You Exist” by Nateybeats:

I’m glad the comments section on this blog exists, below.

I’m glad gratitude exists, everywhere I look.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 2580: Allow for the possibility

Allow for the possibility that there’s a new helpful phrase on my whiteboard at work.


Allow for the possibility that

  • your worst fear is not true,
  • you matter more to other people than you think,
  • others will follow their conscience,
  • people can place long-term advantages above short-term profits and greed,
  • we can work together towards common goals no matter what our differences, and
  • some of my other photos from yesterday fit today’s topic.









Allow for the possibility that Michael’s cooking keeps getting better.

Allow for the possibility that Texas State University students did a great job performing “The Art of the Possible” from the musical Evita:

Allow for the possibility that

  • comments are turned off for that YouTube video and
  • your comments are welcomed here, below.

Allow for the possibility that I’m grateful you’re reading this blog, here and now, and that I want you back in the future.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2559: Other people’s pain

Dear other people,

Are you in pain? Are you in emotional or physical pain, here and now?

How does other people’s pain affect you? Does that cause you pain?

Yesterday at work, I talked to several people who were in extreme pain. That  pained me so much that I noticed moments when I wanted to turn away from their pain. It would pain me to tell you if I had turned away from other people’s pain, but I did not. I stayed with their pain and with mine.

At last night’s Coping and Healing group, other people in pain suggested that we focus on the topic “hope” as a way to ease the pain in the room.

I take pains to protect the confidentiality of all who attend my groups, so I’ll disclose only what I wrote last night:



In case reading that is a pain, here’s what I wrote:


Hope is the thing with feathers.

— Emily Dickenson

Hope is what we all need.

I believe that everybody has a spark

of hope somewhere even if they’re

describing themselves as hopeless.

I think of it as an ember of heat and light

ready to ignite.


The worst moments of my life

have been when I’ve lost track of hope.

I’m so grateful that somehow,

I have always found it.


If you have everything but hope,

you have nothing.

If you have nothing but hope,

you have everything.


Here’s the only other photo I took yesterday:


Does that poinsettia in the group room look like it’s in pain? It did to me, last night.

Here’s “The Hopelessness Theory of Depression” on YouTube, about other people’s pain:


Here‘s  “King of Pain” by The Police:


I facilitate five groups every week because I believe sharing pain with other people reduces that pain.  Feel free to share any pain, below.

As I say at the end of every group about other people’s pain, I am grateful that you showed up here, exactly as you are.




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

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