Posts Tagged With: Koplow Stark Creative

Day 454: My brain is like a sieve

Here’s another post, people, where I riff on something that was in my brain …

Image

… when I woke up.

 

My brain is like a sieve …

Image

… is a phrase that has been bouncing around in my mind, lately, because

When my friend wrote “my brain is like a sieve” on Facebook, she may have meant

I forget too many things

but I did NOT use the helpful skill of reality testing, so I’m not sure what she meant, exactly.

However, I do hear people in my office saying, in one way or another

I forget too many things

as they grow older (as we all do) or if they have any history of memory ailments in their families. When people express concern about their memories, sometimes they use metaphors like

Image

(which was the first Google Image for “my brain is like a sieve). But, no matter how people express it,  I often witness worry and anxiety about forgetting.

And, worry and anxiety can make people’s brains more like sieves. I think I’ve demonstrated that, quite nicely, in several of my blog posts. I can’t tell you which ones, exactly, right now.

My brain is telling me, now, that I should turn to what Thomas Dolby means, when he says

Image

(image found here).

Since I don’t know what Mr. Dolby was thinking when he wrote that song, the best I can do is to present his words:

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it’s being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

When you said you loved me
when you told me you cared
that you would be a part of me,
that you would always be there
did you really mean to hurt me?
no, I think you only meant to tease.
But it’s hard to remember,
I lost my memory. See,

my brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it knows when it’s being messed with
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

You ought to be ashamed of your behaviour
when you’re treating me this way
as if I had deserved to be a place to vent your ire
some day I’m gonna douse that bonfire
we make a crucial team for a dying world
and style is a word I never even heard
in your vocabulary, victim of a murder mystery
…murder!

My brain is like a sieve
sometimes it’s easier to forget
all the bad things you did to me,
you did to me.
my brain is like sieve
but it’s a place where we both could live
if you wanted you could come in,
so come in.

 

Now I’m

  • wondering what your brain is telling you, about the meaning of those lyrics and
  • noticing my own thoughts about them.

I can’t know what you’re thinking (unless you share your interpretations in a comment), so I’ll stick to my own ideas about those lyrics, for now.

Unlike Thomas Dolby, I do NOT find it easier to forget the bad things that have happened to me (whether caused by people or other things).  No, quite the opposite.  As I’ve written about here, many times,  the bad things — the painful experiences — are the things that tend to stick.

As a matter of fact, here’s another possible title for this blog:

The Year(s) of Making My Brain The Opposite of a Sieve, Regarding the Good Things, and Making My Brain More Like a Sieve, Regarding the Painful Things

… but that’s too long, don’t you think? Even if somebody had a perfect memory — a brain with absolutely no sieve-like holes in it — that title would be very difficult to remember. And, it would be much harder to communicate, when I’m telling people about this blog.

Which reminds me of the opening I went to, last night, of the Photography Exhibit, Ravishing, which includes works by Leonard Nimoy, Bear Kirkpatrick, Alicia Savage, Jeffrey Heyne, and — last, but certainly not least — Jonathan Stark, who is my long-time friend AND my ex-partner from Koplow Stark Creative.*

Here’s a photo I snapped at that event, last night:

Image

Left to right, that’s Alicia Savage, Jonathan, Bear Kirkpatrick, and Jeffrey Heyne. Leonard Nimoy couldn’t attend, but he may appear, via Skype from California, when Jonathan gives a talk at Gallery 555, in South Boston on April 19.  The photos, in my photo above, are by Jonathan, which he’ll be speaking about in April.

Here’s one more image I captured last night, at the photography exhibit opening:

Image

I snapped that work, by Bear Kirkpatrick, at the same time I took my other photo: during the panel discussion with all the photographers.

My brain, right now, is reminding me of a transition I left dangling in this post, above, regarding the length of the title of this blog.

Remember?

If you don’t remember, that does NOT prove that your brain is like a sieve. Not at all.

This is what I’ve left unfinished, in this blog post:  Last night, I typed, into somebody’s cell phone, the title of this blog, which took a little while, because it’s so friggin’ long already.

Here’s what happened: As Michael and I were leaving the gallery and saying goodbye to Jonathan, Jonathan introduced us to Bernard Murphy.  Bernard  immediately noticed my Chakra Bracelet:

Image

(which has appeared previously in this blog, here).

In response to Bernard’s compliment, I said, “That’s a bracelet I purchased from another blogger.” I then declared, with some pride, “I’m a blogger!”

And Bernard said, “I’m a blogger, too!”

Guess where Bernard blogs?

Here’s the link to Bernard’s blog: http://redlights2graythoughts.wordpress.com/

I just visited there, and it looks like Bernard and I have some things in common.

I wonder if Bernard posts goofy photos, like me?

Image

Thanks to Wikipedia (for the photos and entries for “brain” and “sieve”), to my friends (on Facebook and elsewhere), to Thomas Dolby, to Jonathan and the other wonderful photographers I saw last night, to Bernard and the other WordPress bloggers I’ve been honored to meet (including Irene, who made the Chakra bracelet), to those who express their fears and other feelings as best they can, and to people whose brains are like sieves or like anything else. And — of course! — thanks to you, for visiting my brain, today.


* Koplow Stark Creative was an advertising/marketing company that Jonathan and I co-founded and ran in the 1980s and 1990s. We did some great work together, if I do say so myself (and if my brain is not a sieve).

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

Day 208: Another side of mind reading (empathy)

This post is dedicated to my ex-business-partner and not-ex-friend, Jonathan, whose birthday it is today!

I’ve written, in this blog, about the cognitive distortion of mind-reading:

Mind reading.  Without individuals saying so, we know what they are thinking and why they act the way they do. For example, you assume that somebody is having a critical thought about you, you don’t check this out, and this affects your actions and feelings towards them.

The more I work with people, the more I see cognitive distortions, like mind reading, that cause people pain and get in the way of them connecting with other people.

At the same time, the more I work with people, the more I think that distortions are a tough habit to break, because they are reflections of human thought processes necessary to our survival.

Why do we mind read so much?  Why do we think we know what other people are thinking, often for the negative?  (E.g., “this person doesn’t like me,” “this person means me harm, ” “I don’t trust this person,” “this person sees in me the things I dislike in myself.”

Why do we have thoughts, like that, so automatically?

Well, there ARE people out there who might be dangerous, and — for survival — it’s good to be vigilant, scanning the environment for those people, so we can protect ourselves and ours.

Likewise, we do other cognitive distortions — like fortune telling and catastrophizing — to be prepared for the future by expecting the worst. As a mode of survival.

Cognitive distortions. Distorted forms of thought processes that have been necessary for our survival.

In my work as a therapist, I encourage people to be mindful of cognitive distortions — those thoughts that don’t help them. At the same time, I also ask them to respect these distortions.

For example, in a therapy group this past week, I said to the members, when we were discussing a particular distortion, “These thoughts think they help us.”

When I said that, I mind-read immediately, thinking, “Nobody is going to understand what THAT means.” But instead, one of the members said, “Oh!  I get it!” And she wrote it down.  And when we ended the group, and named something we wanted to take with us, she named that (what I thought was a clunky, awkward, and unclear) phrase again, as the most helpful thing she got out of the group.

These thoughts think they help us.

And there is another side, of each of the cognitive distortions, that does help us.

For example, the other side of the distortion of mind reading is ….

Empathy.

Empathy is when we try to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes. To imagine what it’s like to be them.

What’s the difference between the cognitive distortion of mind reading and empathy?

Empathy is expansive. Mind reading is restrictive.  Empathy takes into account difference and experiences that you might not have had; mind reading narrowly focuses on your own fears and assumptions. Empathy takes time and care; mind reading is instantaneous and automatic.

Yesterday, when I was walking to work, I was thinking of this blog and possible future posts.

And I thought of empathy, and two videos I could include in a post about that.

Video # 1

I’ve thought of including this piece of video in a blog post several times before (including earlier this week.)

It’s a scene from the end of the first show of “Six Feet Under, ” the HBO series created by Alan Ball,  about a Funeral Home family business.

I loved that show, because it centered on the human experience of death, in a way I hadn’t seen before on TV.

And the ending of that first episode was a revelation to me.

I’ve only seen that episode once, and it’s been over twelve years.  But that ending stays with me, and I think of it often.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to find that ending scene today, to include it here.

But I found something on YouTube, that I think will do nicely.  It’s a five-minute excerpt from that first episode, which includes (1)  the opening credits (which I also loved),  (2) a very short scene with Nate, the oldest son, and his mother, and (3) that ending scene, which has stayed with me, so strongly.

This YouTube video is dubbed in Spanish, which I don’t speak, but I love that, too. Why? Because there is very little dialogue (between Nate and his mother), and all the important things that happen are non verbal.

Especially that last scene, which has no dialogue at all.

Here’s some background that might be important to know for that last scene. What has proceeded it?  Nate, the main character, has come home to be with his family, after his father has died (after being hit by a bus) and realizes that he needs to stay and help take care of the family business, which is a funeral home.  He is pretty reluctant and pissed off about this.

One more thing about that last scene: the person he sees sitting on the bench and then boarding the bus is … his father.

The first time I saw that scene,  (especially the part after the father boards the bus), I felt amazed.

I wonder what you will see in it?  I’ve never shown it to anybody before, asking that question.

Here it is. I’m going to watch it again, pretending I’ve never seen it before, and see how I experience it:

.

Here’s what I saw, again, in that last part (which was shorter than I remembered), which involves some mind-reading on my part. Here’s what I thought Nate was thinking, as he looked at those people who walk by him, after he sees his late father:

“All of these people are going to die. Every one.”

And when I first saw that scene,  I was amazed, because it captured an experience I’ve been having, since I was quite young. An experience I guess I felt alone with. The experience of  looking at people (and myself) and realizing the above.

What feelings do I have, in response to that realization?

Fear. (Although less of that, as I grow older.)

But also, incredible tenderness.

Which leads me to the other video I wanted to show you, today.

Video # 2

I saw this video, called “Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care,” very recently, at the hospital where I work.  It was created by The Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit U.S.  hospital, which sponsors conferences on “The Patient Experience”, including the “Empathy and Innovation Summit” coming up in 2014.

When I first saw this, I looked at it with a more “critical eye,”  because of my professional background. That is, before I became a therapist, I spent many years with my ex-business partner Jonathan creating marketing, PR, and other corporate videos.

Even with a critical eye, my eyes tear up when I watch this:

.

.

Before I end this post, I have to reference Star Trek (The Original Series).  Here’s an image, from the 1968 episode called “The Empath.”

gem-in-the-empath

That’s Gem, the Empath, who is being taught — for the survival of her species — to feel, share, and experience other people’s pain, despite her fear.

Thanks to Alan Ball, “Six Feet Under,” The Cleveland Clinic, Gene Roddenberry,  Star Trek, and all of you (evolving) empaths out there.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 130: The more we let go of fear, the better we can connect with each other

This post is dedicated to my ex-business partner, Jonathan (with whom I had the privilege to do some wonderful video, print, and radio advertising work in the late 80’s and early 90’s).

When Jonathan and I were working on a project — where we wanted to communicate to people how important and helpful something was — we would say to each other:

Don’t bury the lead.

In other words:  Don’t wait to communicate the important message.  Say it as soon as you can.

This concludes today’s blog post, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you, so much, for reading.

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

Day 120: A walk down Boylston Street, Boston, on April 29, 2013

Yesterday, after I parked my car and was about to walk to work, I realized I had two hours before I had any appointments. Because my parking garage was close enough, I spontaneously decided to walk, in the opposite direction, down Boylston Street in Boston, towards the location of the Marathon bombings.

Two days before, Boylston Street was re-opened to traffic and to business. And as was reported, many people showed up that day, to walk down the street.

I don’t know why everybody went there on Saturday. I assume that some of them were — like me — long-time Boston residents, feeling ready for another way to heal, to proceed towards a new sense of “normalcy.”

I felt ready enough, yesterday morning, to go there (perhaps partly because of the blog post I had just written).

The rest of this post is going to be a photo essay, as I show you that walk I took yesterday morning down Boylston Street, through the familiar, through my fears and sadness about how the familiar had changed, and back again.

I am probably going to write more about the familiar, and less about the unfamiliar.

IMG_0692

The above is the first photo I took yesterday morning.

I’m walking down Ipswich Street, approaching Boylston Street. The streets that intersect Boylston are alphabetical, going from Arlington to Ipswich. So, according to my calculations, I am now about 4.5 blocks away from the finish Line of the Marathon (which is located between Dartmouth and Exeter Street).

IMG_0693

This was the second photo I took, and it was the first location I captured on Boylston Street, itself. This is near the corner of Ipswich and Boylston, very close to that first picture, above. (You can actually see the red Berklee flag in the first picture).

I have great associations with Berklee College of Music. First of all, I love jazz. It’s been my favorite genre of music since I was 13 years old. Also, I went to Berklee (then called Berklee School of Music) for two summer programs, when I was 15 and 16 years old. Here’s another reason I have great memories of Berklee: in my previous career (in advertising and corporate video), my business partner, Jonathan, and I had the wonderful experience (in the 1990’s) of creating the promotional video for Berklee, which was sent to prospective applicants to the school. Making that video, taping hours of incredible jazz playing by faculty and students, and interviewing the people there, who all were teaching or learning something they loved, was such a fabulous experience.

IMG_0696

This is a very cool building, a block down Boylston Street. These are my foremost associations/memories with this building — (1) the building won a big architectural prize a while ago, (2) there used to be a Tower Records there, and (3) I got to meet my Guitar Hero, Pat Metheny, there (he was signing albums at the Tower Records) and I got to tell him how much I appreciated him.

Looking at this picture this morning reminds me that Boston is filled with exceptions to every rule (it also reminds me that I am more distracted than usual, these days). I already told you that the streets that intersect Boylston go alphabetically from A to I (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, and Ipswich) and I used that rule to calculate my distance above. Wrong! This building is at the corner of Boylston and Massachusetts Avenue (a main thoroughfare through Boston and the suburbs of Cambridge, Arlington,and Lexington) , which is a non-alphabetical interruption between Ipswich and Gloucester. (Boston: Home of Confusing Exceptions to Rules.)

So revising my estimate — which was based on rules but is now based on reality — at this point I am about 4.5 blocks away from the finish line.

IMG_0700

It’s been a little while since I’ve walked down this stretch of Boylston (between Mass Ave and Gloucester) and I had never seen this before, so I wanted to take a picture of it. Again, I heart Berklee.

IMG_0701

I am still between Mass Ave and Gloucester. I’ve always noticed this parking garage, from when I first went to Berklee. The fence in the foreground indicates that I am crossing over the Mass Pike. I might mildly resent that this enormous fence gets in the way of my taking a better picture, but I feel protected (since I am sometimes afraid of heights and falling, and I never feel scared walking over the Mass Pike, thanks to this fence).

.

IMG_0703

This was my first encounter with obvious evidence of the events of April 15. I am not going to say much about these images, but just present them to you. The above is the fire station on Boylston. It’s very close to the previous picture, before Gloucester Street.

IMG_0704

The poster in the photo above, signed by many.

.

IMG_0705

A close up of the poster above.

.

IMG_0706

Another signed poster, in front of the fire department.

.

IMG_0709

The Hynes Convention Center, on the other side of Boylston Street, right near Gloucester.

.

IMG_0710

A statue that I’ve always liked, in front of the Prudential Center. This is also on the other side of Boylston Street, between Gloucester and Fairfield.

.

IMG_0718

At the corner of Fairfield Street, looking down Boylston toward Dartmouth. This is the side of the street where the bombings took place.

.

IMG_0719

Still walking down Boylston, past Abe and Louie’s Restaurant.

.

IMG_0721

This is approximately where the second bomb went off, between Fairfield and Exeter.

.

IMG_0722

This is what was closer towards the street, on that spot, on Monday. I took several close-ups of what had been placed there …

IMG_0723

IMG_0724

IMG_0733IMG_0729IMG_0731

I was the only one I noticed taking pictures, and while I was taking those above, I felt a little strange. Everybody else who was walking by seemed to be there just to return to their usual routines. I did notice that as I was taking these pictures , though, other people joined me to stop and look for a little while.

At this point, I felt pretty emotional and shaky. Right as I turned to walk further down Boylston, I noticed a very familiar place.

IMG_0750

I ordered my usual Starbucks order, and as I was waiting, it felt familiar to me to ask somebody who looked kind and open, if I could take a picture of him and put him in my blog. (I’ve done similar things before, including at another Starbucks.)

IMG_0734

This is Gabriel. I know I was distracted that morning, because I forgot to take more than one picture of him, and I forgot to ask him if he was okay with the picture I took. I don’t love this picture, personally, because I don’t think it captures how great he was. Or maybe it does.

.

IMG_0735

After I left Starbucks, holding my chai tea latte, I walked toward the site of the first explosion, looking across the street at the Boston Public Library.

.

IMG_0736

This is what I saw as I approached and walked closer to Marathon Sports, between Exeter and Dartmouth.

IMG_0739

IMG_0741

IMG_0740

There was no marking — with flowers, messages, or items — at the site of the first bombing. I stood here for a little while, taking the pictures above. Then I moved to the next store front, closer to the finish line.

IMG_0746

There were some workers standing outside. The door was open, as you can see, and work was being done on the interior. I noticed the Lao Tzu quote, “Act without expectation” which reminded me of the familiar — that is, “helpful” thoughts I’ve written about in this blog, through this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally. (For example, losing one’s investment in the outcome.)

The three guys who were standing outside — whom you can barely see in the above picture — interacted with me, after I took this picture. They made eye contact and I said, “How are you?” One of them answered, “Living the dream,” which I loved. They asked if they were in my way, and I indicated that I had already taken a picture of the Lao Tzu quote. I then said, “Thank you,” starting to cry. (I felt so sad.) One of them said, very gently, “That’s okay, ma’am.”

I walked away, crying a little, hearing the echo of those spoken words.

This was the next thing I noticed.

IMG_0747

.

IMG_0748

This was across the street, as I headed back from where I had started. I thought those plants on top of the Lenox Hotel marquis were so beautiful, below that sign thanking the first responders (with the little heart of love).

.

IMG_0751

Walking back up the street, re-approaching the site of the second bomb.

.

IMG_0752

It was such a beautiful morning. At some point I realized that Gabriel, from Starbucks, was walking in front of me, wearing ear phones. I caught up with him and we talked a little as we walked a short distance together. He was, again, warm and friendly. He told me where he was from, which was not from this area. He told me he really liked it in Boston. We spoke a little bit about the recent events and I expressed my sadness. Gabriel acknowledged how sad things were, and also spoke to how things were already starting to seem better. I felt that, too.

.

IMG_0754

Another view of that statue I like in front of the Prudential.

.

IMG_0755

Looking back up Boylston, in front of the convention center.

.

IMG_0757

As I reached the corner of Mass Ave. I saw Eugene. We spoke a little. He told me that he has been shining shoes for 30 years. I asked how he was and he said, “Up and down, up and down, but for the most part, it works out.” As Eugene and I were talking, he recognized a customer, who sat down to get his shoes shined.

IMG_0758

The customer was Eric. Eric told me he is a faithful, regular customer of Eugene’s. Eric is the Chair of Jazz Composition at Berklee. I told Eric that I had many fond memories of Berklee.

I’ll end this photo essay with more of the familiar. I stopped by Fenway Studios, on Ipswich Street, as I walked to work, to visit with Paul Nagano for a few minutes. Paul is an old friend and a wonderful artist.

This is Paul, standing in front of one of his wonderful watercolors.

IMG_0762

I was so glad I got to see him that day.

Thanks to every person who appeared in this post, in one way or another. And thanks to you, for reading.

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

Blog at WordPress.com.