Posts Tagged With: group therapy

Day 1690: What makes life worth living?

Yesterday, in a therapy group, somebody asked this question:

Using one word, what makes life worth living?

Somebody replied, “Love.”  Somebody said, “Learning.”  I said, “Everything,” which I thought might be cheating, but people didn’t think so. We noticed that  nobody said “Money.”

Then, last night, after many hours of shopping and trekking all over the South Shore of Boston in preparation for my trip to Scotland on Saturday, I discovered that my wallet was missing.  Suddenly, life seemed very difficult (although still worth living).  Michael suggested we retrace our steps and that I also call the Target Store in Braintree, which was about to close in fifteen minutes. I was almost positive that my wallet was not at Target, but I called anyway.

Here’s the phone conversation:

Me: I was at your store earlier tonight and I’m missing my wallet. I was wondering if anybody turned it in.

Customer Service Representative:  What does it look like?

Me:  It’s mostly  red and black. It’s made from recycled billboards.

Customer Service Representative:  Is there a name on cards?

Me:   Ann Koplow.

Customer Service Representative:  Yes.  It’s here.

I think the word “Yes” can make life worth living. Or, at least, less of a hassle.

Let’s see if my photos from yesterday include anything that makes life worth living.

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Just so you know, I took all of yesterday’s photos before I knew that my wallet had been lost or found.

Here’s what comes up on YouTube, over and over again, in response to “What Makes Life Worth Living.”

I am ending this post with one word: “Thanks.”

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Day 1677: Moving On

Last night, several people who were moving on to important issues in my therapy group decided to focus on the topic of “Moving On.”

Moving on to words  I shared in that group about “Moving On” …

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As I mentioned there, my friend Jan is moving on to a new place. Yesterday, I was moved to witness people’s reactions to Jan’s moving on.

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While I said “Hip Hip Hooray” to Jan’s happiness about moving on, I and several other people were moved to tears when we said goodbye to Jan.

Moving on to other photos I took yesterday …

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That last photo shows how somebody was moving on to charging people for unsolicited opinions and advice.

Moving on to some music about “Moving On”

 

Thanks to all those whose moving on inspired today’s post and — of course! — to you, for moving on, here and now.

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

Day 1669: Concerns

Yesterday morning, people with concerns talked about them in a therapy group. There were concerns about

  • themselves,
  • each other,
  • health,
  • health care,
  • the health care bill,
  • money,
  • housing,
  • nature,
  • the country,
  • the world, and
  • the future.

When those concerned people shared their concerns, we also discussed what we do when we’re concerned.

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I’m concerned that list might be difficult to read, so here it is:

What do I do when I’m concerned?

Sit with the concern

Breathe

Think

Feel

Focus

Take a break

Move

Consider changes

Accept (in the terms of the Serenity Prayer)

Love

Be creative

Balance

Take what power I can

Seek and tell the truth

See the opportunities in problems

I see the opportunity, here and now, to ask what you do when you’re concerned.

Any concerns about my other photos from yesterday?

 

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Here‘s some music about concerns  from Chris Andrews.

To whom it concerns: consider expressing your concerns in a comment.

Concerned thanks to all who helped me create today’s blog post and I am especially grateful concerning you.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1585: Excellence

If you came to this blog today looking for excellence, you’re in luck.

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My social work intern, Justine …

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… has shown excellence in individual and group psychotherapy this entire year. Justine is so excellent that I recently acknowledged her excellence with a list titled “Reasons Why Justine is Awesome.”  When we said goodbye yesterday, Justine demonstrated more excellence.

 

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Justine shared the excellence of that ant quote during the therapy group we both facilitated yesterday. Because of that ant, we all sang this excellent song:

At that same excellent therapy group, as we were saying goodbye to Justine, we all acknowledged Justine’s excellence as well as the excellence of this helpful thought:

The pain of the loss is directly proportional to the importance of the connection.

Do you see excellence in my other photos from yesterday?

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Please share the excellence of your own thoughts and feelings in a comment, below.

Thanks to Justine, our therapy group, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Hodges, Greg Stones, and everybody else who contributed to the excellence of today’s post. Also, thanks for the excellence of your visit to this blog, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Day 1578: Sharing complex information

Yesterday morning, I saw this on a white board at work:

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I’ll be sharing this complex information with you, here and now:

  • I wasn’t at the meeting where “Sharing complex information” was discussed.
  • I wish I had been at that meeting, because sharing complex information is challenging, complex, and complicated.
  • I  am sharing complex information every day — at work, in this blog, and elsewhere.
  • I constantly observe other people sharing complex information, with varying degrees of comfort and effectiveness.
  • People at that meeting were sharing complex information including this:

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In order to facilitate sharing of complex information in my therapy group, I erased the complex information on that white board.

For the rest of the day, I was sharing complex information.

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I believe that sharing complex information is an issue for everyone, especially in 2017.

That complex-information-sharing website, YouTube, is sharing complex information herehere, and here.

Will you be sharing complex information in a comment, below?

Finally, I’m sharing this complex information: many thanks to all who helped me share this complex-information post and — of course! — to YOU, no matter what complex information you’re sharing today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1574: Others

In all the other posts I’ve written for myself and for others, only two have had the word “others’ in the title —  Day 163: Alone in the presence of others and Day 180: Horror Stories (and  others).

I expected there would be others about “others,” since I (and others) seem to think about others a lot of the time.

My first and last photos from yesterday both captured the word “others” (among others).

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Were those two photos about others the only pictures I took yesterday?  No, there were three others:

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I spent a lot of time yesterday with seven others, talking about ourselves, others, and group therapy.  As my t-shirt said, I was alone in the presence of others. And because there was mutual respect, trust, and love among me and the others, each of us had the time and space to be alone AND connected with the others in the room.

In other words (written by another therapist and blogger, Dr. Vollmer):

Therapy offers, as Winnicott eloquently says, a patient “to be alone in the presence of another.”  Deep relationships offer this as well. This is the  luxury of experiencing one’s internal world, while a caring person is present in the room, but not intrusive into one’s internal process.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “others”:

I wonder what others might think, feel, and say about today’s blog?

Thanks to all the others who helped me write this post (among others). Special thanks to you and all the others reading this, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 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 1537: A sense of urgency

I often have a sense of urgency about

  • returning phone calls,
  • answering emails,
  • getting tasks (including taxes) done,
  • running errands,
  • expressing myself,
  • clearing up misunderstandings,
  • responding to requests,
  • correcting mistakes,
  • changing/improving things,  and
  • so much more.

Today, I have a sense of urgency about finishing this post, because I need to get my INR level tested at 8:15 before I go into work.

I often have a sense that my sense of urgency adds to anxiety and stress. If I had more sense, I’d probably let go of that sense of urgency, take a breath,  and slow down.

I’m taking a breath and slowing down to share images I sensed yesterday.

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Ann would say:

  • be aware of triggers (things that increase your anxiety),
  • notice and practice whatever reduces your anxiety (including self-care, being in the moment, forgiveness, etc.),
  • do what you love, and
  • listen to music you enjoy.

 

What would you say about all this?

I do have a sense of urgency about expressing gratitude to all who help me create these posts and — of course! — to you.

 

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1458: We’re still alive

Yesterday, in a therapy group, somebody said, “We’re still alive.”  Since that phrase felt very alive to me, I wrote it on my white board, where it still is.

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I heard and wrote that shortly  before I found out that Carrie Fisher was no longer alive, when I  read this on Facebook: “We lost a Jedi.”

I still believe it’s important,  every day, to remember we’re still alive, because eventually every one of us will be still.

Here‘s the best song for this post —  Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” from Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge:

 

I often sing that song when I walk around, still alive,  and see scenes like this:

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Which images are still alive, for you?

I’m very grateful we’re still alive as I thank all  who helped me create this post and you — of course —  for still being here.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1445: What’s in store?

What’s in store for this blog post?  The usual new photos stored on my iPhone,  some thoughts and feelings  being stored in the here and now, and music that’s stored on YouTube.

What in store for the next four years?  What’s in store for this moment?  What’s in store for the moment after that?  Only everything.

People in my therapy group yesterday did not know what topic was in store for them, until we decided to write and draw about the concept of “home.”

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This present was in store for me at work:

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All these things were in store for me during the rest of the day:

 

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I didn’t know tears were in store for me, but here I am, crying, as I create this post.  Those tears were probably stored up  from my  recent open heart surgery, the additional surgery I had to undergo soon after that because of a recalled pacemaker battery, and the U.S. election.

The message that was stored on the teabag that was in store for me last night stores the truth:

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By listening you comfort me.

Here‘s the music in store today (which I listened to twice, yesterday, for comfort):

 

I wonder what comments are in store for me?

Stored up thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — whose appreciated presence was a present in store for me today.

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

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