Posts Tagged With: fortune telling

Day 2113: The Future

Decades ago, when I was wondering if I had any future, I had my palm and cards read.  My worst fear — that the reader would grimace, say “Oooops!”  or suggest that I get my affairs in order  — didn’t happen.

Yesterday, when I was wondering about the future of the earth, I  returned to the same tea room I had visited in the 1970s.  Again, my worst fear — that the reader would grimace,  say “Oooops!” or suggest that human beings get their affairs in order — didn’t happen.

While the reader at the tea room  was not doing what I had feared, he did say that I had trouble dealing with the mystery.  When I asked what the mystery was, he explained, “The Future.”

He reminded me of myself when he suggested I let go of worry and try to focus on the positive light of the future. He also kindly gave me a tissue when I shed a few tears describing my fears.  I guess psychics and psychotherapists share some common techniques.

It was a rainy, gloomy morning when I talked to the reader and I didn’t know that all these views were in the future:

 

“Future Me Hates Me” by The Beths is the first song that shows up on YouTube about “The Future”:

Here’s “The Future” by Leonard Cohen:

… and here’s “Not The Future” by Bad Lip Reading:

 

I’m predicting that there will be  comments in the future.

There’s gratitude in the future for all who helped me create today’s blog post, which I’ll be publishing in the very near future, and — of course! — for YOU.

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

Day 1912: Jumping to conclusions

Are you ready for some jumping to conclusions?

If you jump to this page about jumping to conclusions, you’ll see that jumping to conclusions includes two very common cognitive distortions:  mind reading and fortune telling.

Perhaps some of you are jumping to the conclusion that I’m writing about jumping to conclusions today because of something that jumped out at me yesterday.

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I wonder if there are any conclusions or jumping in my other photos from yesterday.

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With all those bunnies jumping out at us, we might jump to the conclusion that Easter is approaching.

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I jumped to the conclusion that cats would be in that box and in that card holder, but they weren’t. However, cats were nearby.

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This  is always on my mind about jumping to conclusions:  sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re not.  Let’s not jump to the conclusion that our conclusions are always right and other people’s conclusions are always wrong.

If jumping to conclusions really burned calories, I wouldn’t be gaining weight from eating delicious food.

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If you jumped to the conclusion that Michael made salmon last night, your conclusion would be correct.

Has anybody jumped to the conclusion about what music we’ll be jumping to now?

In conclusion, thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for jumping to my blog today.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1473: Expectations

Four years ago, when my expectations for this blog were that I would write one post every day for only one year, I published my first post about expectations.

My expectations, here and now, include the following:

  • I’ve learned more about expectations since then.
  • Most people have expectations for themselves and for others.
  • It helps to be aware of expectations and to check them out with other people.
  • Expectations are a form of fortune-telling about the future.
  • My regular readers probably have expectations about the kinds of photos I include in this blog.

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How did those photos match your expectations?

My expectation is that I’ll find appropriate music for this post on YouTube.

I expect that any comment from you would exceed my expectations.

Any expectations about how I might end this post?

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, therapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 283: Embracing change

There’s a whole lot of change goin’ on here, dear readers.

I’m very aware of the difference between:

  1. Changes I am choosing, and
  2. Changes I’m not choosing.

That always seems to help: Recognizing the difference between those two types of changes.

Do I deal differently with those two types of changes?

Good question!

Let’s find out, shall we?

Let’s look at two particular changes on the horizon — one which I’m choosing and one which I’m not.

A Change I’m Not Choosing:  

A change in the seasons.  Specifically, the cold is coming, here in New England.

I’m not fortune telling (nor using any other cognitive distortion) when I make that last statement.  I think it’s safe to say that the chances of it NOT getting cold, soon, where I live, are approximately the same as:

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an idiom that’s so inappropriate, I couldn’t resist using it.

Here’s another Google Image, for that idiom, that I can’t resist:

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So, we can all agree, I hope — as distracted as we may be by those photos —  that the cold will be arriving, soon, where I live.

How will I deal with that change?

  1. Complain about it.
  2. Especially complain about it with people who are empathic and who “get me” (that is, other people who don’t like the cold and who can’t escape it, for now).
  3. Focus on activities I like doing, which I’m more likely to do when it’s cold outside (for example, watching movies).
  4. Buy a fabulous piece of cold-weather gear, and wear it (for example, my one major purchase, when I was in Scotland in August):

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It’s the hat (in case that photo was confusing, in any way).

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Okay!  I’m ready to move on to a change that would include choice.

A change I would be choosing:

Getting another cat.

We already have one cat, named Oscar:

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That’s Oscar,above, sleeping on last year’s winter hat.  Here’s a close-up:

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Why am I considering this change?  Lots of reasons, including:

  1. Oscar seems to be hungering for more companionship, despite having humans around most of the time.
  2. He likes to play, but not with toys.
  3. He can be an ankle-biter (only with the person who has recently started taking anti-coagulant medication).
  4. Our vet thinks it would be a good change, for everybody.

So we’re considering another shelter cat, including

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Baxter,

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Buster, and

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Barney.

And those are just the “B’s.”

Which illustrates something I’ve blogged about before: I can have trouble making decisions, especially those that have an impact on others.

So how will I deal with this change?

  1. Talk (and write) about it.
  2. Especially talk about it with people who “get” it, or who might have helpful information and advice.
  3. Make a pros and cons list, to the best of my ability.
  4. Make sure (because other creatures are involved) there is a do-no-harm “out,” if the change does not work.
  5. Take a breath.
  6. Just do it!

Okay! That concludes our blog post for today.

Thanks to Oscar, Petfinder, Whiskers of Hope,  Broken Tail Rescue,  Gifford Cat Shelter, creatures needing shelter everywhere, and to you, too, for reading today.

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* Image ascribed, somehow, to sodahead.com.

**   Image ascribed to abaenglish.com.

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

Day 269: Why yesterday was a good day.

Last week, I wrote about bad days and good days (including how our internal experience can greatly affect how we judge those).

Yesterday, by any criteria, was a good day.

Here are some of the reasons why this was true:

Reason # 1.

Something I had been hoping for and working towards, at work, came true.

Specifically: I will be able to reach out, more directly, to people who might benefit from the therapy groups I offer.

While I can’t foretell the future, I believe this will have many good effects on the groups.

Reason #2.

Something I had been hoping for and working towards, here in the blogosphere, came true.

Specifically: A particular country came up in my readership statistics.

While my readership for this blog this year has been expanding in amazing and gratifying ways, one country has been conspicuously absent.

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Iceland.

I hear a lot of great things about Iceland, from people who have visited that country.

And I would like to visit Iceland, some day.

As I would like to visit many, many other countries.

And this might sound like bragging, but many, many other countries have shown up in my WordPress readership statistics, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.

But not Iceland.  And I’ve been noticing that, for months.

And as I’ve written about before (like here and here), we can tend to notice what’s missing, and give that more importance than what we already have.

So while I’ve enjoyed looking at my growing readership statistics,  sometimes I would wonder, Where’s Iceland?

And I don’t mean to slight the other countries, who have been showing up, day after day.  I have welcomed each new country, with joy and appreciation.

But, as time has gone on, Iceland’s absence has loomed larger.

Sometimes, this thought would pop up:

Is Iceland too cool for me?

And I would dismiss that thought as silly (not to mention an example of several types of cognitive distortions).

Nevertheless, I continued to notice. And I’ve even remarked on The Absence of Iceland, to others.

So, I was particularly thrilled, yesterday, when Iceland finally showed up — on the very same day as Good News #1, above!

Reason #3.

I had a breakthrough therapy session, yesterday.

Specifically: I asked some questions, that I had never asked before.

I was brave.

Reason #4.

I felt so good — and brave — last night, that I decided to bite the bullet and finally commit to watching a TV Show that people I love have been talking about, for quite a while.

And, people have been talking about this show much more, lately, because the show is about to end, this Sunday.

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I watched many episodes of that show, last night.

My hope is to catch up, so I can join some people I love on Sunday, as they watch the final episode.

If I make that goal, great!   If I don’t, c’est la vie.

Either way, I’m going to fortune-tell here, and predict that Sunday is going to be another good day.

I’ll let you know, next week.

Thanks to Iceland, the rest of the world, and to you — of course — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 263: Bad Day/Good Day

In my therapy groups, I sometimes do an exercise where people write about bad days, good days, and the differences.  I don’t have the actual worksheet with me as I’m writing this post, so here’s an approximation of it:

Bad Day/Good Day Worksheet

  1. Write about a bad day  (including  details about thoughts, feelings, actions, choices, etc.)  You can describe a specific bad day or bad days, in general.
  2. Write about a good day (including details about thoughts, feelings, actions, choices, etc.)  You can describe a specific good day or good days, in general.
  3. What do you notice about the differences between a good day and a bad day, for you?

Right now, I can’t figure out how to insert spaces between the questions, above, and still keep the numbered formatting the way I want it.

Hmmmm. I wonder if that would be an indication of a bad day or a good day for me?

Maybe it would be helpful to jot down some answers to that Bad Day/Good Day worksheet, right now.

Answer #1. A bad day.

When I’m having a bad day, I tend to feel isolated, alone, helpless, powerless, and with much less hope about the future.  I am usually focusing less on the moment and more on worries about the future and/or regrets about the past. I am judging myself and others, with disappointment. No matter what is happening around me, things look dark and flat. Joy is absent. I tend to isolate. I assume that people are seeing me in a negative way, or sometimes I feel invisible.  Nothing seems to matter.

Some lyrics that capture my experience of a bad day:

People are strange, when you’re a stranger,

Faces look ugly, when you’re alone…

Streets are uneven, when you’re down…

No one remembers your name
When you’re strange.*

(I’m guessing that Jim Morrison had some bad days, people.)

Answer #2.  A  good day.

When I’m having a good day, I’m much more in the moment, accepting of where I am, where other people are, and of everything that happens. I’m a lot less self-critical and I have faith that whatever comes along, I will figure things out, well enough.  I am not mind-reading what people are thinking about me or if I am, I recognize that I’m doing that, and I let those thoughts go. When worries or regrets come into my mind, I recognize those for what they are, and let them go, as soon as I can.

I feel freer about expressing all the different parts of myself, including goofiness (e.g., singing out loud when I’m walking down the street),  sadness (e.g., if somebody is leaving), whatever. I am more aware of the choices I have, in every moment, and I recognize that it’s okay to make mistakes in my choices, because I can continue to choose and improve a situation.

I’m more aware of my accomplishments, and less focused on mistakes and What I’m NOT Doing.

While cognitive distortions — like all-or-nothing thinking or shoulds — may still creep in to my thoughts (because I’m human), I’m much better at spotting them, naming them, and ….

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Answer #3.  The differences between a bad day and a good day.

For me, often the differences have to do with my internal interpretation of what’s going on out there.

Obviously, some days are going to be worse, because of events we can’t control. (What’s coming to mind, right now, is the day this year when my son had a collapsed lung.) (And, of course, April 15th, the day of the Boston Marathon bombings.)

And some days are going to be naturally better, like two weeks ago today, when I gave a really good presentation about group therapy at work.

However,  in most cases, how I interpret, internally, what’s going on out there, is key. Often, it’s everything.

I’m thinking about a day I had last week.  It was “one of those days” where everything was going wrong in the morning. It was important for me to get to work on time, and no matter what choices I made, there were obstacles, some of them unexpected and improbable.

However, because I was in an accepting and hopeful place that day — aware of my options and  feeling competent enough — none of these obstacles were bothering me.

Over the two years I’ve been working at this job,  I’ve had the time and experience to develop a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C for getting to work on time. This day, I had gone to Plan C, which involved driving directly to a parking lot near work, where I would need to pay some serious parking $$, but I had decided it was worth it.

And as I was approaching the finish line of my drive to work,  it looked like I was going to make it on time, with even some time to spare.  I was feeling pretty smug, I have to say.

Then, just as I was about to enter the parking garage ….

… the gate broke.

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The automatic gate (similar to that one, above) which allows cars to enter the lot, suddenly stopped working.

Another car had just entered.  But when I pressed the button to get a ticket and lift the gate, nothing happened.

Now, this would be the perfect set up, for me, to freak out. It had all the necessary Freak Out Elements:

  1. Possible lateness.
  2. Disappointing somebody.
  3. A machine breaking, for cripe’s sake.
  4. Why (only) ME???

However, I didn’t freak out, at all.  Instead …

I thought it was absurd. And funny.

REALLY???** The friggin’ gate broke?  Just when I thought I had made it??

And I stayed in the moment.  And I realized that somebody must be nearby, who could help me.

I looked around and spotted somebody, in the distance, who looked like he worked at the parking lot. I yelled something, to get his attention, and then realized he already had noticed the situation.

Then, things got “worse” (if I had been interpreting things that way).  That is, that person didn’t have what he needed to fix the gate. He contacted somebody else, who didn’t have the correct key, who contacted somebody else, who did.

But i still thought this was funny.

How is that possible?

Well, I was on guard for my typical types of unhelpful thoughts (e.g., imagining the dire consequences if I were late, including  the possible ire of the person I was meeting).  And I was batting those thoughts away, immediately.

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I was also staying in touch with the options I had (e.g., calling the person) and letting go of perfectionism (“You don’t have to be exactly on time, Ann!”)

And eventually, the gate lifted.

And as the Man With The Right Key was writing out my entry time on a parking ticket, I asked, smiling (because I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask), “Do you think I could get a break on the fee, because of the inconvenience?”

And he smiled back and said, “We’ll see what we can do.”

The punchlines?

I got to my meeting on time.

My parking fee was reduced.

And it was a great day, people.

Thanks to Jim Morrison, Betty Boop, Lorena Marie, and to you,  for reading today (no matter what kind of day it is).


* “People are Strange,”  by the Doors.

** “REALLY???” is also a “shout-out” to   The Culture Monk, a blogger I’ve been reading lately.

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

Day 230: Random thoughts (on a non-random Sunday)

Fact.  I am returning to work tomorrow, after taking a two-week vacation which included a trip to London and Edinburgh with my son.

Past-focused thinking.  When I’ve returned to work after time off, I’ve previously experienced:

  1. A helpful sense of perspective.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed as I’ve tried to catch up with things I’ve missed.
  3. All sorts of assumptions about people’s reactions to my being gone and my being back.

Future-focused thinking. I hope that #1, above, will be with me when I return to work tomorrow, and that it will linger, a welcomed guest.*  I fear that #2 and #3 might be with me, in unhelpful ways.**

Wishful thinking. I’m looking forward to returning to work for many reasons, including seeing this in my office.

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Yes, that’s a magic wand, for making wishes (when wishes might be helpful).

Here are my three wishes, for today:

  1.  I wish that I can be in the moment, as best I can.
  2. I wish that I can accept where I am.
  3. I wish that everything that people have ever said about how if one shares a wish it won’t come true is …. rubbish.***

Okay!  Time for a wishing sound (and feel free to join in with your own wishes for today):

Thanks to Jojikiba (for the YouTube sound effect), to The Princess Spinning Light Up Wand, to wishers everywhere, and to you, for reading today.


*  See the Rumi poem “Guest House”, which is at the end of this post.

** Come to think of it, look at that Rumi poem again.

*** I thought of many possible words for what I wanted to express here, and settled on one I enjoyed hearing during our recent time in the UK.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 213: Transitions, Part 2

I am about to go out on a two-week vacation from work.

This is the first time, in perhaps decades, where I have taken that much time away from a current job. (I’ve taken two weeks between jobs, but that’s different.)

I have two more days to get things at work in “good enough” shape before I leave for two whole weeks.

My urge, when I woke up this morning, was to write about transitions.

Based on what I’ve been learning about myself this year (and, also, because of my good -enough memory), I was pretty sure that I had written about the topic of transitions before I went out on my most recent, one-week vacation three months ago (in May).

I checked The Blog Archives here and, sure enough, I wrote a post called, “Transitions,” the day before I left for vacation.

Coincidence?  I think not.

Maybe, this time around, I’m writing about the same topic a day earlier because (1) my vacation, this time, will be twice as long, (2) I’m wiser about how important transitions are, and/or (3) I’m wiser about how naming any source of anxiety can help relieve it, so why wait another day?

And, by the way, it helped me, today, to read that previous post about transitions, especially these resolutions, at the end:

  1. I will do the best I can today,

  2. I will not be perfect in doing all the things I am supposed to do to prepare for this transition, and

  3. I will be doing well for myself  (and for other people), if I can remember # 1 and #2.

So what else do I want to say, right now, that would be helpful for (1) me, definitely and (2) readers, perhaps?

These things:

  1. Transitions — and change, in general — can cause anxiety.
  2. Anxiety isn’t always a problem.  There is such a thing as “healthy anxiety,” which reflects excitement and hope.
  3. We can learn to let go of unhelpful thoughts (including cognitive distortions) which can increase anxiety, in painful way.
  4. The main unhelpful thought I would like to let go of today is: “I HAVE to take care of (fill in task) before I leave on vacation, or else people will feel (disappointed, disconnected, or otherwise dissed). (This seems to be an automatic combo-plate-of-mind-reading-and-fortune-telling thought of mine.)
  5. There is no fifth thing. Four things are enough, for now.

As is my wont whilst creating these blog posts, I would like to include an audio/visual aid (for the benefit of me, definitely, and my audience, perhaps).

Today’s presentation is ….two communities of creatures (observed last night, at a local pet store):

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And while those chinchillas and finches are stuck, for now, in less than ideal — and perhaps painful — ways of being, I’ve got to hope that (1) better days are ahead for them and (2) they appreciate having each other.

Thanks to creatures who are doing their best, everywhere (and you, for reading).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Day 210: A Worry Box

A few weeks ago, a woman in one of my therapy groups talked about a “Worry Box.”

Let’s see if Google has a definition for “Worry Box.” (I doubt it. I think I’m going to have to work a little harder writing this blog, this morning.)

Boy, even that little bit of fortune-telling I did there, in the parentheses …. was wrong. What was I thinking?

When I googled “Worry Box,” this app came up:

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which is, apparently, on a list of “The 10 Best iPhone and Android Apps for Reducing Anxiety,” published on 9/9/12 by HealthLine.

But I still need to define the concept of “Worry Box”.

Wait! Here’s an excerpt from “Two Techniques for Reducing Stress,” from Harvard Health Publications/Harvard Medical School, published on 4/9/11:

Make a worry box

Find any box, decorate it however you like, and keep it in a handy place. (I found that this was a great activity to do with my young children, since they loved helping to decorate the box.) Jot down each worry as it crops up on a piece of paper and drop it into the box.

Once your worry is deposited in the box, try to turn your attention to other matters. The worry box essentially allows you to mentally let go of your worries.

Later on, you can throw out the notes without looking at them again. I decided to look through mine at the end of the month, and while a few of those worries were still bearing down on me, most were unfounded. It was a good lesson that worrying is often fruitless, as a favorite quote of mine from Leo Buscaglia underscores:

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

I am very happy about finding that, this morning, for at least two reasons: (1) I don’t have to write a definition of “Worry Box” and (2) the second technique cited in that on-line article is another one I love to use with people, called “Scheduling Worry.” (I really recommend checking that out, here.)

I wanted to write about Worry Boxes, this morning, because I’m having some worries about my trip to England and Scotland with my son, which is ….. about one week away.

Eeeek!

My worry is right on schedule, based on my Past History of Worrying.

I tend to worry in cycles. These cycles go something like this:

  1. Something New (or otherwise scary/exciting) is approaching and is, suddenly, sooner than I expect.
  2. I worry that I am not prepared enough.
  3. I visualize and otherwise think about things that can go wrong.
  4. I forget about all the times I have mastered similar things in the past.
  5. I recognize and name my anxiety.
  6. I (and sometimes other people) do some work to help me let go of anxiety and worry.
  7. I feel secure enough and start looking forward to What Was Causing The Anxiety Before.
  8. Time goes by.
  9. Go back to Step #1, above.

Yep! It’s a cycle, all right.

So I figured I would do something new, today, as part of Step #6, above.

(I did Step #5, earlier today, by (1) sending a confession about my anxiety to Alexa, whom I met in the hospital when we were both kids, who now lives in London, and who has generously offered to take me and my son around town and then (2) starting this blog post.)

So for Step 6, today, I have designated a Worry Box:

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Front row: Worry Box, previously known as Precious Gift from Precious Friend.

Back row (left to right): A Monitor Screen Cleaner (partially pictured) (purchased at the same great store where I got the “Trust” cup, pictured here); Emergency Messages Box (described here).

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One more photo of the newly-dubbed Worry Box, before I leave for work this morning:

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The left portion of that photo shows all that was in the newly-dubbed Worry Box, when I opened it up this morning, for the first time, in a long time. On the right: another cat that helps out with computers.

Gotta run! Thanks to Alexa, Harvard Medical School, Leo Buscaglia, anti-anxiety apps everywhere, and — of course — to you for reading today. (And feel free to put your worries in a box, or otherwise away.)

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 176: All wet

Last night, I walked around in the rain, with my bf. We had one umbrella, but we still got wet. That was fun, because it’s pretty hot and humid right now, in these parts.

There are going to be thunderstorms for AT LEAST 10 DAYS IN A ROW, if we believe the weather people.

Believing the forecasters (or any kind of fortune-telling, no matter what the data) is a proposition I sometimes find dubious. (I wrote about the meteorological kind of fortune-telling on Groundhog Day. I write and talk about the cognitive distortion of fortune-telling most days of the year.)

Here are a few of my associations with rain and the title of this post, this morning:

#1.  Spotting bunnies — one of my favorite walk-time activities —  is still possible, if not probable, when it’s raining.

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Because of my policy of honesty, I need to confess that I did not spot this bunny last night — nor at any point when it was raining.  However, I did spot it with impressive proximity in both time and space. (That is, very recently and very close to where I’m typing right now.)

#2.  One of my favorite standard/jazz tunes is “Here’s That Rainy Day.”

(This has nothing to do with the topic, but Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite female singer.)

#3.  The meaning of the idiom “all wet” is

all wet Slang

Entirely mistaken.

Which is an example of “All-Or-Nothing” thinking,  another cognitive distortion.

#4.  Jackie Chan pretty much always gets wet at some point in his made-in-Hong Kong movies (movies I love, which I wrote about, here).

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The above is a rather extreme example, from the movie “First Strike.”

#5.  Getting wet is actually not dangerous.

Sometimes, I forget that.  It’s only water, people.

Thanks for reading, this morning.  Stay dry, or not … it’s all okay.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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