Posts Tagged With: getting needs met

Day 873: Just Deserts

I just looked up “just deserts,” because I believe we all deserve a good definition today.

According to wiktionary, “just deserts” means:

A punishment or reward that is considered to be what the recipient deserved.

Wiktionary also believes we deserve to know this:

Usage notes

  • Deserts here is the plural of desert, meaning “that which one deserves.” “Desert” is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase.
  • The spelling just desserts is non-standard. It is sometimes used as a pun in, for example, restaurant names.

Synonyms

  • payback, poetic justice, comeuppance

Now that you’ve read through that definition, how about the just deserts of some of my photography from yesterday?


                    


                      

At this point in my day yesterday,  I realized that just deserts, for me, included some delicious ice cream.

Your just deserts include knowing that Boston Massachusetts USA is  just desert-ly famous for offering delicious ice cream  all year round (despite the harsh winters,  which are NOT just deserts for its many residents).

However, I did not get my just deserts in Boston yesterday, because — no matter where I looked — delicious ice cream was just not to be found.

While searching for my just deserts — and  encountering  a veritable desert of ice cream — I saw all this:


              

  

 

 
      

 

… but no ice cream, which I found particularly ridiculous, because I was mostly searching on

… and wasn’t Louis Pasteur somebody who helped us all get our just deserts of ice cream?

I believe that, as human beings, our just deserts include help from others, especially  when we’re trying to get our needs met. Therefore, I asked Robert

… from

… why I was having so much trouble getting my just deserts of ice cream, especially in an area with so many hospitals, where people justly deserved that kind of comfort. Robert  told me the only place to get ice cream nearby was

I then replied, justly (I believe), that our just deserts included better ice cream than that. When Robert agreed with me, I suggested he open up an ice cream place and get his just deserts of lots of money, but Robert thinks he won’t get his just deserts that way.  Here’s Robert

offering me the just desert of some ice cream he would keep frozen at Beantown Burrito just for me.

I don’t think I deserve that!

Here are more just deserts I deserved to see yesterday, after my work day was done:


                  

While I didn’t get my just desert of ice cream after lunch yesterday, I DID get that just desert after dinner, last night.

Which of those just deserts do you think I — or you — might deserve?

What music do you think would be a just desert for this post?

This was a musical just desert for me, yesterday, as I was snapping some of the photos for this Just Deserts post:

The first three words of “Mammal” by They Might Be Giants are

Glass of milk.

Is that not a just desert?

Just deserts to Louis Pasteur, Robert, the Longwood Medical and Fenway Park areas of Boston, Rancatore’s Ice Cream, They Might Be Giants, Katie Cunningham for the “Mammal” video, and everybody else whose just deserts include gratitude from me, including you!

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

Day 801: How to ask for what you need. 

  1. Identify, as clearly as possible in the moment, what you need.
  2. Identify who is most likely to help you get that need met.
  3. Let go of any worries and concerns about what might happen if you ask for what you need.
  4. Ask.
  5. If you don’t get what you need, ask again.
  6. If you don’t get what you need after asking somebody again, ask somebody else.
  7. If nobody is giving you what you asked for, consider whether you are asking the best people and whether you are asking clearly.
  8. Ask again.
  9. If asking others is still not yielding satisfactory results, consider ways to meet that need on your own.
  10. Let go of any negative thoughts or shame that came up for you, in steps 1 – 9.

Lately, I’ve been asking for what I need in many areas, including:

  • Help with my taxes. 
  • Decisions about my health. 
  • Singing at a party, next week. 

Here are some photos I took yesterday to meet my needs, without asking. 


Here’s a song about needing and wanting:

If you need or want to see The Rolling Stones performing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,”  you can ask for that on YouTube.

I hope you ask for what you need, after reading this post.

I need to thank all those who helped me create this post today, especially the wonderful people at Tufts Medical Center and Beacon Hill Dental Associates, who met my very important need yesterday of getting my teeth cleaned. I also want to thank the Charles Street area of Boston MA USA, PetSmart, Staples, the Rolling Stones, and — of course! — you, my readers, whom I need (in case you need to ask).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 507: What is Enough?

Do we ever feel like we get enough

  • appreciation,
  • freedom,
  • security,
  • improvements,
  • vitamins,
  • belief in our self-worth,
  • order,
  • spontaneity,
  • support,
  • entertainment,
  • recognition,
  • good weather,
  • reassurance,
  • time,
  • exercise,
  • fairness,
  • sweets,
  • control,
  • lists,
  • validation,
  • whatever it is we hope for,
  • help,
  • speed,
  • rest,
  • respect,
  • excitement,
  • time with others,
  • time to ourselves,
  • satisfaction,
  • justice,
  • love, or (these days)

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  •  coconut products?

Speaking for myself, when a need of mine gets met — whatever it is —  I, very quickly, can be wishing for more.  Which makes me wonder:

What is enough?

I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that question.

My son has pointed out that I can get cranky when somebody asks me a question I can’t answer.  I sometimes respond:

I have NO idea

with an annoyed tone and expression.

I wonder why not knowing the answer to a question bothers me? I certainly don’t expect other people to know everything.  Indeed, I like to pose questions I don’t expect other people to easily answer, like

What is enough?

because I believe that’s helpful.

Maybe my negative reaction to not knowing the answer to a question means that I can’t get enough … what?  Credibility? Trust in my ability to know enough?

I can’t figure this all out, this morning.

Before I end this post, I’m wondering if I’ve given my readers enough. Specifically, I wonder if I’ve shown you enough visuals, for some previous posts.

Just in case you need more, here are some photos I took yesterday:

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for the dozens of posts I’ve written during springtime (although I don’t think there’s enough focus in that photo);

 

ImageImageImageImageImage

for all the posts I’ve written about signs;

 

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for yesterday’s post, Random thoughts about art;

 

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for Day 493: Dogged Determinationand, finally, these two photos:

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for all my particularly silly and/or sweet posts.

I hope that’s enough.  Even if it’s not, I need to stop now.

Thanks to medindia.net (for the coconut water image), to all those with needs, to people who don’t have all the answers, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 41 Comments

Day 301: Bearing up

Yesterday, I met my old friend Lawry in Harvard Square, Cambridge, for brunch, with some members of his family.

It was great to see everybody.  I loved talking to Lawry, his wife, his daughter, his sister, his brother, and his brother’s wife.

It was particularly special for me to spend time with them, because I had been feeling some anxiety, over the weekend, about my health (and some about the Boston Red Sox, too).

And it was wonderful to be back in Harvard Square. (See “What’s the problem?” and “Random Images (paired)“, two earlier posts, for more adventures in Harvard Square.)

Here’s a little photo essay, about my time in Harvard Square yesterday.

A Little Photo Essay

by Ann

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On my way to meet Lawry and his family for brunch, I saw this amazing tree.  I had to stop and take a picture. Thank you, tree.

It was another beautiful autumn day. Those of us who live in the Greater Boston area have been remarking, this year, about how friggin’ great the fall weather has been.  Those of us who dread the onset of winter in the Greater Boston area have been wondering whether this is a good or bad omen about how painful it’s going to be, too soon. (Actually, I can only speak for my own thoughts about this.)

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Moments after  I took that first shot of the tree,  I had to stop and take the above photo. Why?  It’s a sign about a group, people!

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Here’s a closer shot of the sign (and some of the flags) that you can see in the background of the previous photo.

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As I said, it was a beautiful day. Look at those trees and that sky.

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Another sign in front of the church. I snapped this, as a is Note To Self:  “Ann, make sure you sing more (especially as the cold and dark descend)!”

After I took that photo, I stopped dilly-dallying, and focused on getting to brunch with Lawry and his family.

I didn’t have any photos of Lawry or his family members to show you today, because I was too focused on interacting with each of them, in the moment. Right now, I wish I had some visual proof of how great they all are, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.

After brunch, I went to Urban Outfitters because I needed a scarf and gloves — that is, gear for winter,  coming too soon to a location near me.

And …  I DID find a great scarf and some colorful gloves there, which definitely cheered me up. (My philosophy: If I’m going to be cold, I might as well look cool.)

While I was shopping  in the store, I couldn’t help but notice this:

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I had never seen anything quite like THAT.  I’ve noticed lots of children — and adults — wearing animal hats in these parts, but a full-bear winter coat?  I was very intrigued, but assumed it was most likely just for display. (I mean, it’s almost Halloween, for heaven’s sake.)

However, when I was in line to pay for my merchandise, I noticed that the people in front of me — a woman and her son —  had just bought one of those bear coats, which was being stuffed into a bag. I blurted out, “Wow!  You got one of those!  Can I see it?”

The woman paused, but then kindly took it out of the bag, to show me. She told me it was for her son, Asa, who was a student at Boston College. “Will you try it on for me?” I asked Asa, as I told them both about this blog.

This was Asa’s reply:

IMG_2059

How cool is THAT?

Now it’s a day later, and I’m still feeling better.

Many thanks to Asa and his mother, Lawry and his family, Christ Church Cambridge, Urban Outfitters, all things that make life bearable, and to you, of course, for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 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 255: If you suspect somebody is not doing good enough work for you

If you suspect somebody is not doing good enough work for you (e.g., a lawyer, a contractor, anybody you are paying), what do you do?

I confess, I find that a challenging question.

Here’s how I tend to react to that kind of situation:

  1. I feel some anger. This makes sense, since anger is the human reaction to not getting needs met (especially expressed wishes).
  2. Because I don’t feel that comfortable with anger, I feel confusion.
  3. I ask myself many questions, such as: Am I really understanding what is going on here?  Was I actually clear about my needs and wishes? Did I contribute to the current situation?
  4. I fantasize about firing the person and working with somebody else.
  5. I fantasize about yelling at the person, in some way.
  6. I tell myself that #4 and #5, while attractive,  are not appropriate at this point.
  7. I work towards getting clarification and/or resolution.
  8. If I don’t succeed, repeat 4 – 7.
  9. I work on crafting an  I-Statement which includes (a) my wishes and (b) some consequence to my wishes not being met.
  10. I send that message.

That’s where I am, this morning.

I’m realizing, right now, that the above is not a bad process, even though I’m not thrilled with it. Here’s how I would like to improve that process, moving forward:.

  • Let go of fears that come up during the process.
  • Move off of Step 8 more quickly.
  • Move off of Step 9 more quickly.
  • Actually, move off of every friggin’ step more quickly.

Hmmmm.  If I let go of fears that come up during the process, the rest may take care of itself.

The written part of this post feels finished to me.  How about an image?

Here’s a sample of how Google Images responds to “let go of fears”:

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Okay!

Thanks to Gandhi, polar bears, penguins, courageous creatures everywhere (including bloggers, lawyers, and contractors), and you — of course! — for reading today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Day 232: Triggers

When I returned to work yesterday, I noticed this:

My authentic happiness about returning was NOT marred by feelings of anxiety, worry, or fear. I felt comfortable and safe.

I remark on this because I’ve been working at a hospital for the past two years and — while I love the work I’m getting to do there — hospitals can “trigger” old and unpleasant memories for me.  (As I’ve mentioned in my About page and in several posts during this year, I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a kid, because of my unusual heart.)

To help with the writing of this post, I just googled “stress trigger,” to see what would come up.

Here’s the first thing that came up:

11 Common Stress Triggers, at the Whole Living website. This website, apparently, has  something to do with Martha Stewart, who seems to have a lot more time than I do, because I see her and her products constantly, including these kinds of things at pet stores.

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Anyway, where was I, before the picture of the dog dressed up as a dragon?

Oh, yes, the “Whole Living” article that came up, in response to googling “stress triggers.”  I looked at other articles, too, and several of them made similar points.

For example, it’s helpful to be aware of your personal stress triggers.

Also, there are common kinds of stress triggers. That Whole Living article listed the following ones:

  1. Money issues.
  2. A job that never ends.
  3. A job you don’t like.
  4. Your relationship.
  5. Constant caregiving.
  6. Holiday pressures.
  7. Taking on too much.
  8. Not enough quality time.
  9. Striving to be perfect.
  10. A lack of passion.
  11. Disorganized clutter.

Here are my thoughts, looking at that list:

  1. It can be helpful to “consider the source,” whenever other people tell you their opinions (about you, or about the world).  For example, if my thoughts went in the direction of imagining — and bringing to market —  lots of Halloween costumes for pets, I would likely be stressed out by holidays pressures, taking on too much, and disorganized clutter, too.
  2. You can learn from everybody.  For example, I am stressed out by holiday pressures and taking on too much (although I seem to have quite the tolerance for disorganized clutter).

Okay. At this point in this blog post I would like to ask myself something.

What did I hope to communicate, when I started this blog post this morning?

I actually wanted to say this:

When I am not being “triggered” by old memories, I can be more present. As a result, worries, anxieties, and cognitive distortions are reduced.

Then, I have the space and time to think about priorities, and to realize what seems to be “missing” or under-represented in my life.

Here are two things I would like to be doing more of, at this phase of my life:

  1. Music, specifically performing.
  2. Spending time with my sister (who is the surviving person of my family of origin and whom I’ve definitely seen less frequently, the past two years).

That helps, to write those things down today.

Are there achievable next steps I can identify,  right now, to work towards those two goals?

Yes.

Will I do those?

Yes, I will take those identified steps today. (Psssttt!  The magic word, above, was “achievable.”)

Well, everybody, that concludes today’s blog post.

Thanks to my sister, Martha Stewart, tolerant pets everywhere, and to you, for reading today.

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

Day 228: Self soothing (decisions, decisions)

As I’ve blogged about previously, I tend to look at the Friday of a vacation before I return to work as … The Last Real Vacation Day.

As I’ve blogged about previously, I have trouble making decisions, some times.

So how to spend this day?

I know this: I want to focus on self-care and self-soothing.

Okay!  So now I know what question to ask.

Which self-care option should I choose, on this fine summer day?

  1. Try out my new meditation chair.Image
  2. Go for a walk, somewhere nearby.Image
  3. Take a bath, with something I brought back with me from Edinburgh:Image
  4. Go back to sleep.

So what’s the correct answer?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 1 and 2
  6. 1 and 3
  7. 1 and 4
  8. 2 and 3
  9. 2 and 4
  10. 3 and 4
  11. 1, 2, and 3
  12. 1, 3 and 4
  13. 2, 3, and 4
  14. All of the above
  15. None of the above
  16. Some of the above and others not listed
  17. There is no right or wrong answer

I just realized something. 17 is my lucky number.

Okay!

Thanks to self-soothers, decision-makers, mathematicians, jet-laggers, and test-takers everywhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 197: Technology, Part II

In yesterday’s post about technology and e-mail, there was a “shadow” — something on my mind, which I didn’t write about.

Here’s what it is: I’ve not only been having a complicated “relationship” with e-mail lately, but also with a different piece of technology.

My current cardiac pacemaker.

It’s time for a story …

Ann and Her Pacemakers

I got my first pacemaker when I was 10 years old, and I’ve had a LOT of them.

For the first 20 years or so, all the pacemakers I had were fixed-rate pacemakers. No matter what I did, how much I exerted myself, or what I was feeling, the pacemaker (and my heart) were beating the same amount of beats every minute: 80 beats per minute when I was a little kid and 70 when I got older. That meant I didn’t get the boost of extra beats for exercise.

That didn’t stop me from becoming a Disco Queen in the 1970’s, though.

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I (not pictured) took lots of disco lessons, danced in lots of places with lots of people, and had a blast. The way I dealt with fixed rate of my heart? I rested after a dance or two. Nobody knew the difference.

In the 1980’s, when I was in my 30’s, I got my first variable rate pacemaker. With this advance in technology, the pacemaker allowed my heart to speed up exactly when it needed to.

I remember, after I got my first variable rate pacemaker, going to an indoor athletic track, and jogging for the first time.

I felt like I was flying. It felt like a miracle.

Another part of the story is this: I have always been quite sensitive to how my heart is beating. In other words, if my heart skips or speeds up suddenly, I am very aware of it. I guess I’ve had to be, in order to survive. (Also, as somebody said to me when I was in my 20’s, “Ann, some people are just born sensitive.”)

Until I was in my 30’s and got the variable rate pacemaker, any variability in my heart beating (like missed beats, slowing down, or speeding up) meant that Something Was Wrong With The Pacemaker. And by being tuned in very acutely to my heartbeat, I pretty much always anticipated when my pacemaker was starting to fail.

You may have read, on this blog, my bragging about this: I am The Longest Surviving Person In The World With a Pacemaker.*

I’ve broken other records, too. Another one (I believe) is the Longest Lasting Single Pacemaker. That would have been the last pacemaker I had, before my current one. That Champ of a Pacemaker lasted just shy of 25 years. (This could be framed as “pay back” for all the pacemakers I had, early on, that broke and otherwise failed way too soon.)

I loved my last pacemaker, if I may use that emotional word about a piece of technology, because it not only kept me going, but it kept going for such a long time. And I felt physically great with it.

The current one, which I received about 17 months ago (but who’s counting?) does not seem to be quite as spectacular a match. With this pacemaker, my heart is skipping a lot of beats, speeding up suddenly, and … it just doesn’t feel as good. My doctors tried to adjust this latest pacemaker (the new ones have LOTS of fancy programming), but, at this point, we just can’t get it to stop those kinds of behaviors. It’s not that there is something wrong with it, it’s just picking up more than my other pacemakers. My doctors tell me that it is giving a more “accurate” representation of how my heart might naturally beat.

Perhaps this pacemaker is “too sensitive.”

(I wrote about the “too” word in a post, when I first started blogging, here. Also, “too sensitive” is something I hear people say about themselves, in a judgmental way. I sometimes think that’s a characterization that’s not particularly helpful.)

At this point, I’m not sure if anything further can be done, with this pacemaker, to make it a better fit for me and my needs. What I’ve done, for myself, to feel better, is to try to “disconnect” from my sensitivity to my own heartbeat. I’ve tried to “shut off” my immediate, familiar, and learned response of “There’s Something Wrong!” whenever my heart skips a lot.

But, my heartbeat has an effect on me. That effect may include anxiety, at times.

It’s so complicated, how all the different factors — internal and external — interact with each other.

How do I figure this out? And what to do?

Here’s what I thought of this morning.

The Serenity Prayer.

Again.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As usual, Part 3 — “the wisdom to know the difference” — is the challenging part.

What are the things I can and cannot change right now?

At this point, I don’t think I have more options to change this pacemaker, to make it a better fit, although I’m not sure about that. I could find out, perhaps. And, maybe I can find out more about my options for my next pacemaker.

In any case, it helps to name the situation, rather than avoiding it and trying to block it out. And, also, to identify an achievable next step or two.

Thanks, from the bottom of my heart (which skips sometimes), for visiting today.


  • I found out, in 2014, that this brag was not true.  See here for more about that.
Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 180: Horror Stories (and others)

It’s the weekend and I’m glad.

I experienced my day at work yesterday as “difficult” and I was having TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) thoughts. Actually, the thoughts were more like IWTDAWWON (I Wish This Day And Week Were Over NOW) Thoughts.

I don’t like having thoughts like those. I like to do my best to be in the current moment, instead of wishing it away.

So that’s where I was yesterday. Not liking where I was.

As I’ve been writing in my posts here lately, I’ve been having some discouraged thoughts and feelings.

It always helps to list what’s discouraging me. That way, I reduce the power of those thoughts and make them manageable. If “What is Discouraging Me” can fit on a page, it’s smaller than it feels inside my head.

I’m going to focus on my discouragement at work right now. Here’s the list:

What Is Discouraging Me About My Work

  1. I am eager to expand my therapy group program, and there are obstacles to doing so.
  2. I am judging the job that I am doing, and very aware of my mistakes and limits.
  3. I am feeling some disappointment with people I need to support me in the work that I do (because as much as I might like to, I can’t do this alone).
  4. I am not seeing my own power or my ability to do what I think I need to do.

Okay, now that I have gotten those discouraged thoughts out of my head and into this post, I can see things differently.

I can see that this is the my Typical Experience of Discouragement. It’s the story I see and the story that I tell, when I’m feeling down. All the elements are there:

  1. Obstacles,
  2. Disappointment in myself,
  3. Disappointment in others, and
  4. Feeling helpless and powerless.

When I am in that place, I feel horrified by new evidence of my lack of power, my personal mistakes, and disconnects from other people. The more I see those things, the more I want to hide. The more I hide, the more helpless I feel and the less options I see for any solutions.

Here are some things that horrified me at work, yesterday:

Horror Story #1. Bugs Attack!

There was an e-mail about an infestation of saw-toothed beetles in the doctors’ lockers. The e-mail reported that the exterminators had come, all food in the lockers had been thrown away, and people with lockers had to make sure to store any food in Tupperware (since the saw teeth were sharp enough to get through lesser protection). Here’s the perpetrator:

Image

(Google Images gave me many choices for visual examples. I believe I was kind to you and to myself with my choice, above.)

Also, my direct manager (who has been very helpful to me) had to leave early because of an “ant invasion” (her words) at her home.

Image

(Perhaps I wasn’t quite as kind, in my choice of Google Images for “ant invasion.” However, I could have been crueller, for sure.)

Now, I wasn’t directly affected by those two things. I don’t have a locker at work. And, while some ants have been showing up at my home these days, that situation is well under control.

However, I still felt horrified. I felt bad about food I was storing in my desk. I threw out food that wasn’t protected.

Also, I remembered my second internship when I was in Social Work School, over 15 years ago, at a place where I never felt comfortable or connected enough with the other staff there, and where ants attacked some food I had in my knapsack, swarming all over the office floor. I remember feeling horror and shame about that, being afraid to tell anybody, emptying the offending food, taking the knapsack, and guiltily throwing it away in a trash receptacle far from the office, like I was disposing of a bomb I had evilly constructed.

One moral of the story: Wow. I guess I can be hard on myself sometimes.

Another moral of the story: Bugs are everywhere, and you can especially see them where the food is.

Horror Story #2: Some People Get Mad or Annoyed at Me!

I have to return a lot of phone calls at work.

One of the changes I helped create at the hospital where I work is this: people who have decided they want individual or group therapy now have the direct phone number for a clinician, who can assess their needs with them, explain therapy options, and help connect them with the therapy solution they choose. (The old system was this: the person wanting therapy would be given the general practice number, would reach a scheduler, make an appointment, and usually wait several weeks before talking to somebody.)

I feel very proud about that change. I think it’s better, in all ways.

However, I am one of the clinicians who takes the calls, and I get a lot of calls from people. And I do my best returning those calls. And I manage expectations, with my voicemail message, about when people will hear back from me.

But sometimes, people get annoyed when I don’t act quickly enough.

And I REALLY want to return calls quickly. I want to honor and respond to somebody asking for help. Partly, because I really know what if feels like … to be alone with pain.

So it kills me when I can’t get back to people quickly. And there are many reasons why that can happen, including: I’ve got a big back-log of phone calls, I am meeting with people for individual therapy, I am trying to maintain my group program, I’m doing groups, I am on call for people who are having very urgent problems, and I am trying to take care of myself so I don’t burn out.

(pant, pant, pant)

And people get annoyed with me, some times. Doctors, other staff members, and — rarely — patients. And I get annoyed sometimes, too.

Because most of us are doing too much and/or dealing with too much. Most of us feel overwhelmed.

We are all doing the best we can.

One moral of the story: I get back to people as soon as I can, even if I feel awful about delays.

Another moral of the story: Needs are everywhere, and you can especially see them where people are offering to meet them (like at a hospital).

END of Horror Stories

Before I end this post (which helped me a lot, this morning), I would like to tell you some other things that happened yesterday.

Let’s see … what’s the opposite of the word “horror”? I’m gong to The Thesaurus, people.

Here’s the full entry about “horror”, in the Thesaurus:

Main entry: horror

Part of speech: noun

Definition: fear, revulsion

Synonyms: abhorrence, abomination, alarm, antipathy, apprehension, aversion, awe, chiller, consternation, detestation, disgust, dislike, dismay, dread, fright, hate, hatred, loathing, monstrosity, panic, repugnance, terror, trepidation

Notes: terror is stronger than horror , though it usually lasts for a shorter time

Antonyms: beauty, delight, miracle, pleasure, wonder

So, I encountered some Beauty/Delight/Miracle/Pleasure/Wonder Stories yesterday, too.

Story #1: My dentist text-messaged me and asked if he could put one of my blog posts on his dental practice’s Facebook page. See here for that post, which included my dentist but also other stories of kindness I’d been encountering in Boston.

Story #2: The people at the parking lot where I work told me that — because of the e-mail I had sent their manager about them — they were all getting a good bonus, some real $$! (See this post for how amazing these guys were, and why I wrote the e-mail.)

Many other Beauty/Delight/Miracle/Pleasure/Wonder Stories happened yesterday, too. The two I mentioned were just the blog-related ones.

However, because of the place I was in, those kinds of stories weren’t sticking. The Horror Stories were taking up most of the room in my head.

Here’s my wish for myself, today. I just want to give all the stories equal time. Not deny the horror. When the horror is there — whether it’s internal shame, disconnections from other people, or external destruction — I wish to still notice the other side.

To get back to it, as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading all of this, today.

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

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