Posts Tagged With: George Sawin

Day 1649: Forgiveness

Please forgive me, dear readers, for writing another post about forgiveness.

Last night’s therapy group was about forgiveness. I hope you can forgive my messy handwriting on the white board:

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Forgive me for asking: how would you answer those questions?

People last night had a lot to say about forgiveness. I said that I found it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself.  Here and now, I forgive myself for taking only one other photo yesterday.

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I wonder if the New Yorkers reading this post can forgive me for being a life-long Boston Red Sox fan.

Earlier this week, my therapist, George, suggested that I write down hurtful things  people have done to me so that I can work on really letting them go. I believe that George was talking to me about the healing power of forgiveness — of my self and of others.

Forgive me for including more than one tune about forgiveness (here and here on forgiving YouTube):

I’ll forgive you if you don’t leave a comment, but I might not forgive myself if I didn’t ask that you do.

Thanks to all who helped me create this post about forgiveness and — of course! — to you, for the forgiveness you bring.

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

Day 1634: Warnings

WARNING:  This post has warnings in it.

Yesterday, my EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist, George, talked to me about my over-developed mental warning system.

WARNING: I keep forgetting what “EMDR” stands for and I have to look it up every time I write about it (like here and here).

George gave me an important warning, yesterday, in our therapy session. He warned that I give myself this warning way too much:

I have to hyper-vigilantly protect myself against the world’s incompetence, ignorance, hostility, lack of understanding, ambivalence, negligence, etc.,  in order to get my needs met and to survive.

WARNING: I write important warnings down so I can remember them.

George warned me that these constant warnings are probably bad for my health. He suggested I tell myself this instead:

I am safe. I have everything I need.

Do you see any warnings in my photos from yesterday?

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WARNING: If children scare you, be warned that The Warning is a hard-rock band of three young sisters from Monterey, Mexico. Here‘s The Warning’s TED talk (and play):

 

WARNING: This writer loves comments on her posts, which you can leave below.

WARNING: I have everything I need, here and now, thanks to all who helped me create this post with warnings and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1543: Backgrounds

My background includes technical writing, marketing communications, and psychotherapy.

In the background, I’ve been looking up the definition of “background.”

Definition of background

  1. a :  the scenery or ground behind something – a picture of her son with mountains in the background – background scenery for the play

    b art :  the part of a painting representing what lies behind objects in the foreground – dark shadows in the background of the painting

    c :  an image that displays on a computer screen underneath the various available icons and windows – As they participate, they earn “Kinetic City Points,” which they can spend on downloadable prizes, such as screensavers and computer backgrounds. — Science

  2.  an inconspicuous position  – shy people who try to stay in the background

  3. a.  the conditions that form the setting within which something is experienced… set in a background of tropical luxuriance. — Tom Marvel

    b (1) :  the circumstances or events antecedent to a phenomenon or development – the economic background of the American Civil War took place against a background of increasing tension

    (2) :  information essential to understanding of a problem or situation – background information

    c :  the total of a person’s experience, knowledge, and education – comparing the candidates’ backgrounds –  ran a background check to make sure she had no criminal record

  4.  a. intrusive sound or radiation  that interferes with received or recorded electronic signals – a recording with a lot of background noise

    b physics :  a more or less steady level of noise above which the effect  being measured by an apparatus is detected;  especially :  a somewhat steady level of radiation in the natural environment (as from cosmic rays)

  5.  a level of computer processing at which the processor uses time not required for a primary task to work on an additional task — compare foreground.

In the background, I’ve been inconspicuously trying to correct the inevitable formatting errors and complications that occur whenever I try to bring a definition into the foreground of my blog.

Here’s the background of how I chose the title of today’s post: Yesterday morning I was changing backgrounds while I was self-soothing with a game of on-line solitaire.

Congratulations to me for winning at solitaire and congratulations to worldofsolitaire.com for offering so many backgrounds.  I usually use the first background shown above; perhaps from now on I’ll use different backgrounds, depending on my mood.

After I solitarily photographed all those backgrounds, I noticed other backgrounds throughout my day.

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That last photo, with the artwork and books in the background, shows my EMDR therapist, George Sawin, moving some EMDR equipment at the end of our session. George’s background includes psychotherapy, law enforcement, flower shops, and  business management.  When we were discussing the importance of backgrounds, I mentioned this poem to him:

THE INVITATION
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
 
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
 
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
 
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
 
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
 
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
 
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
 
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
 
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
 
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
 
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
 
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
.
Want to know the background of this background, shown above?
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Somebody in my therapy group yesterday morning suggested we project a YouTube video of a beach in Hawaii on the screen in the group room. We used that for our mindfulness exercise and then we left it running in the background throughout the group.
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What’s your background? Are backgrounds important to you?
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Please don’t stay in the background; instead, leave a comment below.
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My background includes an appreciation for acknowledging and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what your background.
Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1508: A quiet home

Yesterday, I returned to the quiet home of my EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist George after a long, disquieting absence. George and I talked quietly about how difficult it’s been for me to find a quiet home after the multiple traumas of open heart surgery, my pacemaker getting recalled, complications with the pacemaker replacement surgery, all the noise around the U.S. election, the loudness of my mechanical heart valve at night, and the fear and discomfort I’ve been experiencing internally and externally. During my quiet time with George, I realized I could create a quiet home wherever I am, by focusing on whatever helps quiet my mind and my soul.

Soon after that quieting session, I saw this:

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I’d love a quiet home, too.  How about you?

Can you see any quiet homes in my other photos from yesterday?

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While I was looking through windows of hope for quiet homes yesterday, I quietly heard this quiet music from Hamilton:

 

Thanks to all who helped me create  this quiet home today and to you — of course! — wherever your quiet homes are.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 948: The Game of Life

Yesterday, George — my EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist — and I discussed (among other things) the games of life you have to play if you’re working for a big bureaucracy, like a teaching hospital in Boston.

Immediately before that therapy session, I had snapped a few photos of the games I saw in the waiting room outside of George’s office:


  

I particularly noted the building block game Jenga, since George uses Jenga as a metaphor for how EMDR works: picking out old traumatic memories until an unhelpful, outdated, and intricate system of beliefs about oneself and the world …. collapses.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game of Jenga, here is the cast of the film musical “Annie” playing with a giant Jenga set on The Ellen DeGeneres Show:

For the past month, George and I have been trying to remove the building block of a particularly traumatic memory — a doctor calling me a spoiled brat at age 10 when I requested relief for excruciating pain I had after surgery and then leaving me alone, with my pain, in a hospital room.

Last week, I wrote a blog post about George’s suggestion of transforming the effects of  that old memory by bringing in a group of helpful, supportive people (including WordPress readers) to revisit that long-ago hospital room and encounter that doctor in new ways.

This transformation, which we worked on yesterday,  included:

  • The mother from Terms of Endearment (played by Shirley MacLaine) yelling at the doctor about the pain I was in,
  • Jackie Chan grabbing an I.V. pole in the hospital room, twirling it around, and bashing the doctor in the stomach, and
  • My current cardiologist, Dr. Deeb Salem, telling the doctor he’d better believe me about the pain and take care of things STAT, or his career as a pediatrician was over.

When it came time, yesterday, to forgive that doctor for what he did to me 52 years ago, I had to bring in some big guns, including

They all helped me hear and take in that doctor’s long overdue apology.

Here‘s  jazz bassist Stanley Clarke, with a song from the wonderful album School Days:

I recommend  playing “Life is Just a Game ” as  a musical accompaniment to some other images I game-fully captured, yesterday —  before and after George, I, and a supporting cast of dozens schooled and otherwise re-encountered that doctor from long ago:


  
  
  
  
  
  
  


  
  

   
  
  

  



What games of life are standing out for you? Feel free to play with me, here and now, in a comment below.

Remember,

Game-of-life-changing thanks to George, Ellen, Shirley, Jackie, Dr. Salem, Val,  the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Gandhi, Stanley Clarke, people who heal in groups, and everybody else who helped me revisit that old hospital room, yesterday. And special thanks to you — of course! — for playing the Game of Life as best you can, today.

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

Day 941: Who would you bring in?

Yesterday, at an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) session, my therapist George gave me an assignment.

He and I were revisiting a very upsetting incident when I was young and left alone with a lot of pain in a hospital room (which I’ve written about here).  The assignment was this:

Make a list of people —  real and fictional — you can imagine protecting and fighting for you. Next time we meet, we’ll bring them into that hospital room with you.

Here are some people I thought of immediately:

I asked George, “How many people can I bring in to that hospital room with me? I don’t think they’ll all fit.” George told me I could bring as many people as I want.

Now,  I’m really looking forward to next week’s EMDR session.

Let’s see if I have any recent photos on my iPhone of some  people I might bring with me, into that hospital room of so long ago.

That’s a very good start.

What music might I bring in, from YouTube? I thought of the chorus of this song (although many of the lyrics don’t fit):

I also like Bruno Mars’s “Grenade”  because there’s a short version reminding me of a fellow WordPresser:

Here‘s a more relevant song:

Who would you bring in, with you?

Finally, I’m bringing in two photos I took yesterday, before my meeting with George and after a therapy group I facilitated at work:



Now I’d like to bring in thanks to George, Bruno Mars, Buffalo Tom Peabody, the Four Seasons, all the people imagined and real in today’s post,  and — of course! — you, for bringing yourself in, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , | 52 Comments

Day 913: It takes one to know one

When somebody gives me a compliment, I often reply:

It takes one to know one.

I believe that, too. Seeing a positive attribute —  like kindness, generosity, humor, or creativity —  means you have some of that quality, also. Otherwise, you wouldn’t recognize or value it.

Yesterday, at an EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy session. I said

It takes one to know one

in a very different way, about a painful and persistent memory from when I was a child in the hospital.

As I’ve described in a previous post, a very unkind, ungenerous, humorless, and non-creative Doctor Hyatt, in 1963, responded to my telling him I was in excruciating pain by:

  • calling me a “spoiled brat”
  • refusing to help in any way,
  • saying, “You’re just doing this for attention and there are really sick children here!” and
  • leaving me alone, in my hospital room.

Then, I was

  • still in pain,
  • shamed, for expressing pain,
  • worried that I had somehow caused  harm to the sick children all around me, and
  • horribly confused by why an adult had gotten so angry at me, when  all I had done was try to survive.

In some ways, I have spent my whole life, since then, trying to figure out and let go of that experience.

Yesterday, in EMDR therapy, I revisited that encounter with Dr. Hyatt, and I

  • beat the stuffing out of a pillow,
  • yelled, “You’re fired!” and
  • replied to being labeled a spoiled brat with “It takes one to know one!”

After that session, I hope to be less inclined to fear other people suddenly becoming angry at me, for no reason.

You know?

It took one to know one, yesterday, in these photos I took, one after another:


                                            
It takes one music-lover to know one wonderful piece of music, heard yesterday on one car radio, after that EMDR session:

One performance of Pachelbel‘s Canon on YouTube has taken WAY more than one to know one —  that video has over 24 million views.

One more one thing to know: it takes one blogger to know one (or more) reactions from you, with gratitude.

Knowing thanks to my EMDR therapist, George, to everybody else who contributed to my creating this post, and to you — of course! — for visiting here, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

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