Posts Tagged With: growth

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:

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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 300: Metaphors of the heart

Dear readers,

I am a psychotherapist, and I learn new things, every time I meet with people.

Here’s something I’ve learned, many times:

Metaphors help people describe and understand what is going on with them.

On Friday, at work, somebody reported that her mood shifts had gotten less extreme.  As many people do, she made a gesture with her hand, to “draw” her experience of varying moods.

Usually, when people do that, they indicate this kind of graph:

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This woman, however, used the term “heartbeat strip,” and from her description and gestures, I knew she was describing the an electrocardiogram (abbreviated ECG or EKG):

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She said, “Before, my moods were like this …” and she indicated an EKG that was very dramatic. It looked something like this:

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Lately, she said, her mood shifts had been more even, and she indicated a “normal” EKG:

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(Her description was much shorter than that image, above, from ndsu.edu.)

I found this metaphor amazing , and not just because (1) I had never heard it before and (2) it related to other issues I’ve been thinking about, lately.

I thought it was truly wonderful.

I expressed my appreciation for that metaphor, to the person in my office. And then I added something.

I said, “People often think that any mood shifts are a problem.  However, without ups and downs, people would be  …. flat-lining.” And it was my turn to gesture, like this:

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And, we agreed, that would be very bad.

I told this person that I planned to use her metaphor in the future, saying, “I’ll give you credit, if you want.”

She said I didn’t need to, especially since I had added something of my own.  We  agreed we made a good team,  creating that metaphor together.

And then we moved on, to other matters of the heart.

Thanks to all the people who have taught me so much, in so many therapy sessions. And thanks to you, for visiting today.

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

Day 299: Why haven’t I published anything (outside of here)?

This morning, I am posing questions about where I am in my life, right now.

I have enough expertise and skill to be a published author. Why haven’t I made that happen, so far in my life?

What’s gotten in the way of that?

Here are some things I can think of:

  1. Doubts about my (previously mentioned) expertise and skill.
  2. My ability to think of a kashmillion things I would rather be doing other than writing something for publication.
  3. Concern (and perhaps some other feelings) that other people would  have the control to accept or reject something that was important to me (and what makes THEM such friggin’ experts, anyway?!??)
  4. My short attention span. (Look!  It’s a baby wolf!)

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Where was I?

Oh, yes. I was asking the question:

Why haven’t I published anything, so far in my life?

Oh, I wanted to state the obvious, at this point.  I’m not counting what I’ve published here, at WordPress. Because if I did, I’ve published almost 300 times.

I’m discounting that.

Hmmmm. I’m wondering if I’m discounting anything else?

Because, recent data suggests that I can forget things that I’ve done.  By “recent data,” I am referring to my blog post, two days ago, where I forgot that I had actually taken a photo of Carl Yastrzemski, when I was at the 1st game of the World Series, at Boston’s Friendly Fenway Park.

So, let’s see. have I published anything, outside of  these blog posts?

Hmmm. I guess you could say I have.

About 20 years ago, when I was in Social Work school, I wrote a paper about how people with disabilities were portrayed in the media. I interviewed people from a local chapter of (I believe) the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and they asked if they could publish a version of my paper in their national publication. Which they did.

And in years past, if you Googled my name, that article appeared. But I can’t find it now, to check my facts (and support my bragging).

So maybe I’ll see if I can find that article, later.

But in the meantime, it’s a beautiful day!

Which means, I would like to wrap this post up.

Before I do, here’s what feels left undone.

I want to ask  myself another question:

Do I WANT to publish (or do I just think I SHOULD publish)?  (Psssst!  The word “should” can indicate a cognitive distortion.)

Hold on, I’m thinking ….

Here’s the answer.

I do want to publish, if it’s something:

  1. I feel passionately about, and
  2. I think would be helpful to share with others.

So what might that topic be?

I’m interested in communication of all kinds, verbal and nonverbal. Maybe I should write a paper on something like this:

The people in the following image (from a national TV broadcast) are having an experience that most would consider joyful:

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That is, they are attending a World Series Game, where their home team is leading by a score of 8-1, one strike away from victory.  What emotions are they communicating, non-verbally? What are the factors influencing those non-verbal communications, from the stand-point of those sending AND receiving the communications?

That’s definitely an interesting topic.

However, I can think of another topic, that’s probably a better fit for the two criteria I listed above: The therapy groups that I have created and facilitate, where I work.

So I would like to take steps to publish, about those.

One last thing, before I end this post: I believe it helps, once you have identified a goal, to make a commitment for action, ideally witnessed by others.

Therefore, I hereby commit, to my group of WordPress readers, that I will take a measurable step, by the end of this year, to publish about those therapy groups.

Okay!

Thanks to  Dan Shaughnessy (the author of “One Strike Away: The Story of the 1986 Red Sox”), thatcutesite.com,  baby wolves (and other distractions), the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, verbal and non-verbal communicators everywhere, and to you — of course! — for witnessing today.

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

Day 289: Sometimes, it just helps to know you’re not alone

Two confessions, this morning:

  1. Sometimes, I confuse words for things. For example,  I’ll say “January” when I mean “July.”  I wonder if people think —  when I do that — that I am confused about what time of year it is.  THAT could be embarrassing.
  2. Sometimes, I procrastinate making changes. That can feel embarrassing, too.

So it helps when I realize that I’m not alone in these imperfections. Especially when I realize that I am joined by a person — or an establishment — that I respect.

Therefore, I was pleased to see this sign, this past October weekend, in front of one of my favorite local restaurants.

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Besides the headline, I want to point out some other things about that sign:

  1. It’s located in the eastern United States (not in Australia or any other place south of the equator).
  2. It uses one of my favorite words (“yummy”).
  3. It concludes with something I’ve considered using more of, lately (an emoticon).

If you don’t like emoticons, insert your own preferred smiling image, here, to conclude.

Wait!  Before I do end today’s blog post, I’d like to present some of MY preferred smiling images (from previous posts, this year):

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There’s more, but it’s time for me to end this post, people!

Thanks to Patou Thai Restaurant, people confused in any way by seasonal change, procrastinators (and anti-crastinators, if such people exist), smilers everywhere, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 288: Expected/Unexpected

Yesterday, I went for a long walk, through places I’ve been before.

As a matter of fact,  I wrote a blog post, over 100 days ago, called “Surprised by Joy,” which included pictures from a similar walk.

I was surprised, again; this time, because part of the walk had been transformed. 

In previous visits, I had walked by a large portion of fenced-off land, where changes were obviously happening. Yesterday, I saw the result of those changes.

This morning, I would like to share some photos I took, as I encountered that unexpected transformation.

I don’t know details about this transformation, and I don’t have time to find out more right now, before I leave for work (after a 3-day weekend).

I do want to tell you one detail, though.

On my walk, yesterday, I did not expect to stop and take photos. I was focused on the purpose for the walk, with an end-point in mind. And I thought I knew what that walk would be.

But in the moment, yesterday, I stopped and looked.

Here are some photos I took, where everything old was new, again.

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Thanks to the Mystic River Watershed, to all those who contributed to creating the images in this post, and to you, especially, for joining my path today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 287: Opening a can of worms

“Opening a can of worms” is an idiom.

“Idiom” is a word I avoid, sometimes, because it sounds like the word “idiot.”

When people use this idiom, it’s a warning about a possible negative result of change.

If you […insert change here….], you’ll be opening a can of worms!

I hear this a lot, from within and without.

If you try something new, and it doesn’t work, you’ll feel like an idiot!

If you ….

  1. change a process, at work or elsewhere,
  2. talk to somebody about something upsetting,
  3. introduce somebody new into your life,
  4. move, one way or another,
  5. take a risk, of any kind

… you might be opening up a can of worms.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeek!   Worms!!!

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Last week, at work, we were discussing a possible change, and a manager used that expression.

Yesterday, at home, I was discussing a possible change with my boyfriend, and he used that expression.

I’m not kidding, people, I hear that expression a lot.

This is what I said to my boyfriend, though:

Wait a minute!  We might be opening up a can of worms, it’s true.  But, Michael!  It’s just a can!

Because I was picturing a can of this size:

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and so was he.

So I asked,

Why are people so scared of opening a can of worms, then?

Here’s a quote, from Mental Floss, about the idiom:

Metaphorically speaking, to open a can of worms is to examine or attempt to solve some problem, only to inadvertently complicate it and create even more trouble. Literally speaking, opening a can of worms, as most fishermen can attest, can also mean more trouble than you bargained for.

Here’s another one, from Yahoo Answers:

Opening a can of worms means to start to reveal something that will be messy and hard to conceal. A literal can of worms would be filled with hundreds of squirmy worms that would fall all over the place. Attempting to catch all of them and get them back in the can would be very difficult. The same goes for so many things in our lives. Sometimes there are things that we say that can’t be reversed or put back in the can, as it were. And like the worms that spread out everywhere the thing in question will spread out and impact other people.

Hmmm.  So I guess the fear makes sense, doesn’t it?

But, as I said to Michael,

What if the worms DO all escape?  How can they hurt us, really?

I mean, it’s not like we’re opening up a Tanker of Tarantulas.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m not so scared about opening up a can of worms, right now.

Thanks to Michael, grasshopper_ramblin, spaghetti in cans, worms everywhere, people considering a change, and to you, of course, for reading today.

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

Day 281: Thick and Thin

Today’s post is random thoughts about ….

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…. blood!

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Here we go ….

  • My son, when he was younger, didn’t want to even hear the word “blood,” much less see any of it.
  • When I describe to people how my very unusual heart works, I often say, as a punchline, “Amazingly, all the blood ends up in the right place.”
  • While anti-coagulant (anti-clotting) medication is also called “blood thinner,” a helpful pharmacist informed me last Tuesday that “the blood actually doesn’t become thinner.”
  • The first film created by the much-admired Coen Brothers was

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  • While I might use the word “friggin'” to express strong emotion or emphasis, other English-speaking people use the word “bloody.”
  • Somebody who says “Blood is thicker than water”  is expressing the opinion that “relationships and loyalties within a family are the strongest and most important ones.”*
  • I just asked my son, who is about ready to leave for school, his first association with the word “blood.”  His answer?  “Blood.”

It’s time to end this bloody post, people!

Thanks to my son, pharmacists everywhere, Ethan and Joel Coen, creative families of all kinds,  and to you, for reading today.

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* According to Google.

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

Day 278: Elevated to tears

This morning, I read this beautiful post, Flow of Water – Flow of Life, at China Sojourns Photography.

I love that blog, every time I visit, because of images like these:

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and words like these:

“Water is pure: two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen.  It has no desire other than to be itself.

  • try to pick it up, control and squeeze it, and it will elude ~ as will a strong human spirit
  • if it remains still, it becomes stagnate ~ as will our body & mind without pursuing life
  • when it flows it becomes pure ~ as when we flow & move: life, love and our spirits tend to flourish”

“Water is resilient.  Soft yet incredibly strong.  An analogy which is often repeated, is how over time water can turn stone into sand with its relentless flow, creating such marvels as the Grand Canyon.  Water never ceases in its pursuit of life…it just keeps on flowing, bending when necessary, and without question follows its nature.”

“My favorite verse from the Dao de Jing is number eight which parallels water with human nature.  If I had to summarize the words of this verse it is: be true to who you are, keep it simple and kind, and flow with your work and in life, without expectations, and you will not be disappointed.”

When I read that blog post, today, I was moved to comment. The first thought that came to mind, was this:

Your post reduced me to tears.

Then, I thought, that’s not right. So I gave it another thought.  And I wrote:

Your post elevated me to tears today.  Thank you.

Before I wrote that comment, I also thought about my friend Marcia‘s comment on my post yesterday:

You’ve gone through the looking-glass Ann, with a wonderful looking-glass heart. And everything there turned out to be really, really beautiful,and we were all flashes of light, gone in an instant but never really gone at all. And Mr. Rogers was, in fact, an essential force in the universe. As my mom always said: “How lucky we are!”

Every time I read what Marcia wrote (including just now), I tear up.

I’m noticing the language there, too.  The term is “tear up.”   It’s not “tear down.”

When I responded to Marcia’s comment yesterday, I wrote:

I am moved to tears.

When people say “I was moved,” that usually involves tears, doesn’t it?*

And movement is good.

Even if it hurts, some times.

Many thanks to Randall Collis,  Marcia, people who see beauty (and luck) everywhere, and to you, especially, for reading today.

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* It occurs to me that this also applies to Moving Days, which, honestly, have been some of the worst days of my life.

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

Day 273: The Show About Everything

I told some people I love, yesterday, when we were in the middle of the home stretch of a “Breaking Bad” marathon, that my punchline about the show was this:

While

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was The Show About Nothing,

“Breaking Bad” was the The Show About Everything.

Here’s one random thought, this Monday morning,  about The Show About Everything:

People are hungry for great stories, about interesting people who change.

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Here are just  a few of the themes I noticed, over the weekend, in The Show About Everything:

Secrets/Revelations

Lying/Telling the truth

Trauma/Healing

Everything we do affects others, in ways we often cannot predict.

There is bad and good in all of us.

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The moment that is lingering for me, right now, after watching every episode, except for one*?

Walt, finally, saying something like this:

What I did, I did for myself.  I liked it. I was good at it.

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After the show was over, I said, to anybody who might have been listening at that point, “See?  Do what you love. Do what you’re good at.”

I assumed that I didn’t need to add something like this, “Of course, you need to make better choices than Walt did.”

I’m sure they know that, by now.

Okay!  I’ve got to go to work. (Not to cook, but to listen to stories.)

Thanks to those who do what they love, to people who have both good and bad in them, and to everybody making choices today. And many thanks to you, for being here.

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* I skipped watching “Rabid Dog,” on the advice of practically everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 271: Room For Error

I am in the middle of watching a lot of “Breaking Bad” episodes, in an attempt to catch up. I would like to watch the final episode on Sunday with people I love.

I’m probably not going to make it, but I’m going to do my best.

I’m going to make decisions, recognizing there are trade-offs at each point.

I want to take care of myself first.

My priorities may shift, throughout this process.

I am currently watching the Fly episode.

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Walter White just said,

There is no room for error, not with these people.

Thank goodness I’m not dealing with people like that, these days.

Thanks to creative people, imperfectionists everywhere, and to you, for reading today.

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

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