Posts Tagged With: letting go of fear

Day 1783: The world’s scariest places

Last night, when I was at an American supermarket (which was one of the world’s scariest places in the Robin Williams movie “Moscow on the Hudson”), I saw this:

I don’t know what’s included in that magazine of the world’s scariest places. Perhaps it includes places where there’s

  • genocide,
  • prejudice,
  • sexual abuse,
  • physical abuse and/or
  • emotional abuse.

What do you think are the world’s scariest places?

Are there any scary places here?

Hospitals can be some of the world’s scariest places, so I’m glad that the hospital where I work has a string quartet playing near the entrance.

There are so many “World’s Scariest Places” videos on YouTube that it’s scaring me, so here’s that scene from “Moscow on the Hudson.”

I hope the comments section here is not a scary place and that you’ll place a comment, below.

Thanks to Robin Williams, the hospital where I work, magazines, supermarkets and every other place, person, and thing that helped me write this world’s-scariest-places post. And thanks to you — of course! — for helping to make this blog one of the safest places I know.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1778: Love what is

I love what is on the hallway wall of Jane Hoffmann.

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Do you love what is on Jane’s wall?

Shall we love what is in the rest of today’s post?

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What might  help us love what is the most difficult day of the week to love? How about this?

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I love what is on that card.

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Oops!  I love what is a mistake, imperfection, or oversight, especially if I can correct it. I almost forgot to include a song for today.

I love what is in that YouTube video of Matt Corby singing “Monday.”

Love what is your reaction to today’s blog.

I love what is the latest way I’m expressing gratitude to all who help me create these posts and to those who read them — including YOU.

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

Day 1772: The fight, flight, or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life

Yesterday morning, when I was fighting to fly to work on time, I froze when I saw this:

The fight, flight or freeze response of cave dwellers can ruin modern life.

Before I read that article by Kate Murphy in the New York Times, I knew  it would echo many things I’ve been telling my patients for years, including:

  • fear and its companion — the fight, flight or freeze response — can save us from danger,
  • however, the level of fear we experience today is  based on the realities of the distant past — the danger-filled lives of our  cave-dwelling ancestors who lived under constant threat of  invading tribes and wild animals,  and
  • that level of fear  interferes with modern life.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“Change has occurred so rapidly for our species that now we are equipped with brains that are super sensitive to threat but also super capable of planning, thinking, forecasting and looking ahead,” said Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. “So we essentially drive ourselves nuts worrying about things because we have too much time and don’t have many real threats on our survival, so fear gets expressed in these really strange, maladaptive ways.”

I don’t want to drive ourselves nuts by spending too much time on that article here, but I recommend you read the whole thing.  And I do want to include a few more quotes from the article before another flight into photography.

  • Consciously activating the more measured, analytical part of your brain is the key to controlling runaway fear and anxiety.
  • Arresting an overactive amygdala requires first realizing and then admitting you’re feeling uneasy and scared.
  • “The more you try to suppress fear, either by ignoring it or doing something else to displace it, the more you will actually experience it.”
  • The amygdala is less apt to freak out if you are reminded that you are loved or could be loved. For example, seeing images of people with frightened expressions is usually a huge trigger for the amygdala, but that response is greatly diminished when subjects are first shown pictures of people being cared for or hugged.

  • Just as fear can be contagious, so can courage, caring and calm.

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How did those photos affect your modern life?

Before you take flight from this post, I will fight to express my main reason for taking that last photo — it reminded me of the song “Our Time”  from Merrily We Roll Along:

To make this our time rather than the time of cave dwellers, let’s do our best to focus on courage, caring, and calm.

Modern thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1735: Alarmed

Are you alarmed about anything today?

Yesterday, I was alarmed when

  • an alarming, rapid five-tone beeping  sounded several times throughout the day in our home and we couldn’t find the source of it,
  • we discovered that our cat Oscar had peed a little in the bathtub, and
  • I found out that somebody I care about very much is getting a lung transplant.

What do you do when you are alarmed?

I take a breath, tell myself “it’s safer than it feels,” and choose a next best step.

Are you alarmed by any of my photos?

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When I sent my son Aaron that photo of Michael saying “hi” last night, Aaron wrote back, “Is he alright?”  I think he might have been alarmed.

Aaron was quoting something we say a lot, inspired by Bill Hader playing the alarming Keith Morrison.

Don’t be alarmed, but I just heard those five beeps again. I’m wondering if we could work together to figure out

  1. what those beeps might signify and
  2. what to put in the room where there used to be a piece of furniture that the cats have destroyed.

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I won’t be alarmed by any of your comments, no matter how alarmed you are.

Don’t be alarmed by this:  I’m grateful for all who helped me create this post and — of course! — for YOU.

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

Day 1701: Very unusual hearts

My very unusual heart was happy to connect, yesterday, with two people who also have very unusual hearts.

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Andrena, Vicki, and I have congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga). That’s a very unusual heart condition and it’s very unusual when three of us can share a heart-to–heart-to-heart talk.

My very unusual heart overflowed with gratitude  as we shared what was in our hearts.  Then, my very unusual heart spent another unusual day in the heart of their very unusually beautiful and busy city of Edinburgh.

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For Andrena, Vicki, and me, living with very unusual hearts is business as usual. Because we’re in this together, we are not afraid.

This very unusual heart loves jazz, so last night I  attended ” Jazz at the Movies” …

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… at the Edinburgh Jazz Bar …

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… and heard this very unusual song.

 

Do you think that everybody wants to be a cat?  I hope you express what’s in your very unusual heart in a comment, below.

Thanks,  from the bottom of this very unusual heart, to all the very unusual hearts and very unusual cats that helped me create this very unusual post and — as usual! — to you, for reading it.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1672: Unlimited Capacity

I seem to have an unlimited capacity to see potential blog topics all around me.

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I also have an  unlimited capacity for

  • irony,
  • humor,
  • taking things out of context,
  • searching for meaning,
  • appreciation,
  • hope,
  • reminiscing, and
  • taking photos (even if my devices have limited capacity for storage).

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What do you have an unlimited capacity for?

These days, I’m working on limiting my capacity for

  • worry,
  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • judgment,
  • despair, and
  • fear.

YouTube seems to have an unlimited capacity for storing videos about EVERYTHING ( including reminiscing).


I also have an unlimited capacity for gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this Unlimited Capacity post and — of course! — to YOU.

 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1655: Letting go

Is everybody ready for another post about letting go?

Before I say more about letting go, I’m not letting go of my habit of sharing links to my previous posts with similar titles (here, here, and here).   I am now letting go any judgment of the fact that all those previous “Letting Go” posts occurred during the first year of this living-non-judgmentally blog.

Now that I’ve let go of that, I want to tell you that yesterday’s  therapy group focused on “Letting Go.”

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I’m now letting go of my disappointment about my inability to include a blow-up of that white board, zooming in on the words “letting go” (in a different color, on the right). If you can’t find “letting go” amid all the red on that white board, let it go.

People in yesterday’s therapy group did an exercise in letting go by writing down words of things they wanted to let go. Here are some of the words I let go:

DOOM

GLOOM

DISASTER

JUDGMENT

HATE

UNWORTHY

SELFISH

FEAR

 

Since last fall, I’ve been letting go of negative reactions about

  1. my open heart surgery,
  2. the recall of my pacemaker/defibrillator, and
  3. the U.S. election.

Letting go takes a lot of work!

Now, I’m letting go of many things as we prepare for our move close to the ocean. Sister Thrift is a great place to let go of possessions for a wonderful cause.

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Now I’m letting go of all my other photos from yesterday.

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While I did let go of many CDs yesterday, I’m not letting go of any of the Compact Discs shown above.

Here‘s Bonnie Raitt singing an amazing song about letting go:

Feel free to let go of any thoughts and feelings about this post in a comment, below.

I’m now letting my gratitude — for all those who helped me create this post and for all those who are reading it — go out into the universe.

 

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

Day 1648: Personal Space

Yesterday,  several persons had the personal space in the group therapy space at work to discuss their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and needs regarding personal space.

Personally,  I’m glad I have the personal space to share  photos in this blogging space.

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I’ll take some personal space to explain that the objects taking up personal space in the upper left corner of my personal Home for Missing Objects, above,  are socks I’m personally missing.

In the personal space of my office, persons often  discuss how fears can take up too much personal space unless we counter those old fears with helpful thoughts in the personal space of our minds.

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Other people’s unsolicited advice can also take up too much personal space.

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“I see how well that worked out for you!” — which is taking up personal space on my white board — is one way to assert your  personal space in response to unhelpful, judgmental advice.  I shall now take up personal space here with an example of that:

Advice giver:  I can’t believe you’re still single! You need to get married if you want to be happy.

Advice hearer: I see how well that worked out for you!

Here are some other photos taking up personal space on my iPhone:

 

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That last photo shows a bumper sticker taking up personal space on a car in front of me in traffic.

I hope you have the personal space to express your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and needs regarding personal space in the comment space below.

My old friend Dave took up some personal space yesterday sharing new versions of two Jaco Pastorius tunes. (I’ve taken up personal space in this blog personally writing about Jaco Pastorius here and here.) The late, great Jaco and the late, great Toots Thielmans  are taking up personal space on YouTube with one of those tunes (here and here ).

I’d like to take up a little more of your personal space expressing my personal thanks to all who helped me create yet another personal post and — of course! — to you, for taking up all the personal space you need.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1634: Warnings

WARNING:  This post has warnings in it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am safe. I have everything I need.

Do you see any warnings in my photos from yesterday?

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

 

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

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

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

Day 1551: Some of all fears

Last night in my therapy group, some people wrote down their fears, as well as ways to let go of fear.

I fear that I did not take a picture of all I wrote in that group session. However, here are some of all the fears I listed:

  • Mistakes that are irrevocable.
  • Losing out on something I want.
  • Malice.
  • Death (mine and other people’s).
  • Heights.
  • Abuse.
  • Stupid or mean people in positions of power.
  • The cold.
  • The dark.
  • Bad doctors.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Illness.
  • Pain.
  • Shame.
  • Rage.
  • Ticks.
  • Car accidents.
  • The news.

The sum of all the fears I wrote down last night was much larger than that.

Here are some of my ways to reduce fear:

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Name the fear.
  • Self care.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take a small step forward.
  • Connect with supportive people.
  • Be in the here and now.
  • Acceptance.
  • Nature.
  • Healthy food.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Tea.
  • Humor.
  • Cats.
  • Music.

While I didn’t take pictures of anything I wrote in last night’s therapy group, never fear!  I did take the sum of all these photos yesterday:

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What might be some of your fears and ways to reduce fear?

I fear I forgot to include something important in my second list, above.

Gratitude.

My gratitude to all who helped me create the sum of this post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

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