Posts Tagged With: letting go of self-consciousness

Day 3410: Dancing for joy

Last night, in a Coping and Healing group, somebody described how — in the midst of ongoing struggles with anxiety and unhappiness — they suddenly started dancing for joy while cleaning their home, with family members joining in. I could see how this person’s story about dancing for joy joyfully affected the other group members because joy — like other feelings — can be contagious.

Today, I’m dancing for joy because I’m about to begin a two-week vacation which will include dancing for joy, walking for joy, resting for joy, reading for joy, eating for joy, flying for joy (with some fear and anxiety mixed in), and joyfully seeing the musical “Rent” in Portland with my good friend Maria.

I’m also remembering a weekend retreat, decades ago, where a huge group of people were dancing for joy — shedding self consciousness because we were all blindfolded and watched over by helpful facilitators.

Do any of my images for today evoke dancing for joy?

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “dancing for joy.”

Here’s a dancing for joy number from the movie version of “Rent.”

I look forward to your comments about this dancing for joy post.

Thanks to all who help me dance for joy, including YOU!

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

Day 654: Observed

In yesterday morning’s blog post, I observed lots and lots of number 9’s.

As I walked to work, I observed another one:


I also observed it was unseasonably warm for a mid-October day. When I got to work, I observed:

  • somebody working on interpersonal challenges:


  • and a therapy group discussing the experience of self-consciousness — the awareness of being observed by others.  People in the group observed that self-consciousness did not have to be negative;  it might include helpful self-awareness.

I’ve observed that I’ve been feeling self-conscious and off-balance, lately. I’m observing, now,  that this might be connected to the following:


  • In approximately 9 days, I will be observed by many new people, as I give a presentation about the therapy groups I facilitate at a hospital-based doctors’ practice.
  • There have been many times, in my own medical experiences, where I have been observed, very closely, by lots of people, in a way I could not control.

However, I CAN control what’s observed here, in the rest of this post.

Here’s what I observed, yesterday, through my ears (and my earphones), as I walked away from work, through a warm afternoon:

(“Afternoon” by the Pat Metheny Group, from the album Speaking of Now,” observed here on YouTube.)

Here’s what I observed, through my eyes (and my iPhone), as I made my way home:

IMG_0892 IMG_0894 IMG_0896  IMG_0899 IMG_0900 IMG_0901 IMG_0903  IMG_0908 IMG_0915 IMG_0916 IMG_0921 IMG_0922 IMG_0926  IMG_0928   IMG_0934 IMG_0937IMG_0941 IMG_0942

Is there anything you’ve observed you choose to express here?

Many thanks to Charles Gulotta, to those he loves, to the Pat Metheny Group, and to all who observe and are observed (including you, of course!).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 609: Invisible

In order to start making some of my thoughts and feelings visible to you today, here’s an image from yesterday’s post:


If my reason for including that photo in Day 608: Low hanging fruit is invisible to you now, it wouldn’t kill you to read that post, you know.

I’d like to make this visible, now: I had some thoughts and feelings, yesterday, about “The Invisible Man” — and the rest of those Classics Illustrated Comic Books — which I kept invisible.

That’s not unusual. I have lots of feelings and thoughts when I am writing anything — some of which I show and some of which I keep hidden.

Why do any of us keep certain thoughts and feelings hidden? Perhaps, because of:

  • fear of others’ reactions,
  • shame,
  • assuming we’re alone with these thoughts and feelings,
  • an old habit of keeping secrets, and/or
  • having so many thoughts and feelings, that we must pick and choose what we reveal.

Should I make visible some of my Invisibles from yesterday?

Sure. My sister might sell some or all of those comic books. I have mixed feelings about that. I have lots of memories, very visible to me, now, of reading them when I was a kid.

Actually, now that I think of it, those vivid memories might be enough.  I may not need the actual comic books visible in my life, at this point.

That was a helpful thought.

What’s next?

If I were visible to you now, you might see that I am

  • eager,
  • perplexed,
  • a little worried, and
  • hopeful

about transforming other thoughts and feeling about the topic “Invisible” into a blog post, good enough for you and me.

Here’s another thought I’m having about “Invisible.” It’s  a song by Clay Aiken.

Something I have kept invisible, until now, in this blog:  Starting in the year 2003, I saw many Clay Aiken concerts, along with several people who were very visible in my life, at that time.

As I’m writing this, their faces are visible in my mind. I’m wondering if any of them are reading my blog, these days. If they are, maybe they’ll make their reactions visible to me, by making a comment! (That would be cool.)

Here’s a video of Clay singing “Invisible” on his JukeBox Tour in August 2005, with Spanish subtitles:

(YouTube video found here)

Whenever I decide to include a video here, YouTube usually gives me several choices. My decision process — which is visible to me and likely invisible to anybody else — includes these preferences:

  • Live performance.
  • Good enough audio.
  • Good enough video.
  • Something familiar to me.
  • Something unfamiliar to me (like a different locale or language).
  • People being given credit.
  • Applause!!

Now I’m wondering this:  Am  I giving enough visible structure to this post? If not, here’s a helpful question I ask myself when I am writing, every day.

Have I made my important reasons for writing this post visible enough — to my readers and to myself?

For this post, I’m not sure if I am totally in touch with what’s important about “Invisible.” When my intentions seem somewhat invisible to me, it helps to make a list, quickly, without thinking.  What else do I want to communicate, here and now, about “Invisible”?

  • Other people’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions are often invisible to us.
  • When I create anything (including a blog post), parts of my process are inevitably invisible to others.
  • It’s your choice what you make visible and invisible to others.
  • When I was a child and dealing with a congenital heart condition and many hospitalizations, I sometimes felt  invisible and — sometimes — too visible.
  • These days, feeling invisible can be a good thing, especially when I’m walking around in public, singing or dancing.
  • When I was recently talking to my managers at work about feeling invisible in a weekly meeting, one of them said, “Maybe you are more visible there, than you think.”


Before I end this visible/invisible post, I shall now make visible some images I captured yesterday:



IMG_8560 IMG_8561  IMG_8563 IMG_8567 IMG_8569 IMG_8572 IMG_8575   IMG_8576     IMG_8577 IMG_8578 IMG_8580 IMG_8583IMG_8584 IMG_8587  IMG_8588

IMG_8589 IMG_8591 IMG_8600

There are two things I want to make visible about those photos, above. For me, visibility often includes answers AND questions.

  1. I am trying to make visible, here, the tree in our backyard which, after tomorrow, will be visible no more.
  2. What the heck is that very visible squirrel — in the first photo — holding in its very visible mouth?

Thanks to Clay Aiken; to all the people I’ve met along the meanderings of my path (invisible and visible); to trees, dogs, and other living things; and to you — of course! — for both the visible and the invisible you bring here, today.

Categories: friendship, inspiration, mystery, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism, quiz, tribute, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 460: Time and space continued

In yesterday’s blog post, Day 459: Time and space, I may have misled my readers about something.

As I’ve written about before, I love clearing up misconceptions and errors, as soon as I realize them.

I may have misled my readers in yesterday’s post, regarding numbers. As I’ve written about before, numbers can give me some trouble, especially when they’re big ones (for example, the numbers I need to keep straight when returning phone calls at work).

The misleading info from yesterday’s post was in a paragraph that — oddly enough — already related to numerical errors and confusion, regarding my friend Jeanette:

I tend to think that Jeanette’s birthday is April 6. It’s not. It’s April 9.  9 is 6 upside down.  For some reason, I’m topsy turvy about Jeanette’s birthday. Perhaps that’s because things felt turned upside down for me, when Jeanette moved away from Boston, several years ago.

When I wrote that yesterday, I almost added, “I think Jeanette moved away 6 years ago. Or, maybe it was closer to 9.

I was aware, when I was writing that paragraph yesterday, that I had no real concept of when Jeanette had left Boston. I just remembered the feelings, related to that. So instead of quantifying the time with a number, I used the phrase “several years.”

How many years might that imply, to you?

I’ll wait, while you think of a number.

Do you have a number in mind?


When Jeanette — who is spending a getaway weekend with me, right now, in New York City — read yesterday’s post, she pointed out that the actual number was larger than “several.” In actual time, Jeanette moved away from Boston in 2000. That means it’s been 14 years.

I don’t think “several” really captures that, do you?

So what is my point, on this fine morning in NYC?

As this man


pointed out (many more than several years ago),  time is relative.

According to that Albert Einstein quote, above, everybody’s a genius, so here’s Ann’s rule about relativity, right now: Time is relative, in our memory of important things.

Time has definitely made it to today’s post.  How shall I include Space, before I end this post?

How about this: Yesterday, after I had traveled the space from Boston to NYC, Jeanette and I were waiting in a subway station. This was during rush hour, on a Friday afternoon in downtown New York. So we were standing in a very crowded space, as you might imagine.

Soon, I realized I was hearing something very familiar: a saxophone, playing one of the Karaoke tunes I had committed to practicing on Day 422: Singing out loud — “Cry Me a River.”

For those of you unfamiliar with that song, here‘s Barbra Streisand singing it, in 1963:


When I heard the unmistakable strains of that much beloved song in that subway station yesterday, I turned and saw this man:


I think Leviticus (for that was his name) could tell I loved that song, by my reactions.

And guess what?  In that crowded NYC subway space, he and I did an impromptu duet. With Leviticus on soprano sax and Ann Koplow on vocals, it wasn’t a perfect performance. There were a few errors, since we’d had no time or space for previous rehearsals.

I have no idea how many people were in that subway station audience yesterday. As I said earlier in this post, I have trouble with numbers. But whether it was dozens, scores, or hundreds of people, nobody seemed to mind. Including Jeanette.

It just goes to show you:  Anything can happen, when you feel safe, in any particular space.

Thanks to Jeanette, Barbra Streisand, Albert Einstein, Leviticus, my entire captured audience at Penn Station Subway Station at approximately 6 PM on April 4, to all performers and audiences over time, and to you — of course! — for being here, today.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 426: Barbara

This post is about my long-time friend, Barbara.

Barbara and I met, in the late 1950’s, after my family moved to this house:


(That photo has appeared in an earlier post, here.)

Here’s another view of that house:


I’m adding that view, for today’s post, because that is, pretty much, what Barbara would see, when she left her house back then (during a specific season which, for now, shall remain nameless).

I’m not sure exactly how old I was when I met Barbara. I was probably about four or five years old. Let’s just say this: I was very young.  And Barbara was born a month after me, so she was even younger!

Here’s the earliest photo I have of Barbara, right now, where you can really see her. The date, written on the back on the photo, is 2/2/1960, so it was my 7th birthday (and Barbara was still 6).


That’s Barbara laughing (on the right), a sight and sound which I cherished then and which I still cherish, to this day.

I have a distant memory of Barbara seeing that photo, many years ago — perhaps when we were roommates in the 1970s —  and not loving it.  I’m not sure if that’s an accurate memory, but — in any case — I hope she likes what I’m showing and writing about her today. If she doesn’t, I’ll do what I always do with my posts — change things until the featured people are happy.

I, personally, like that photo a lot.  Why?  Because, as mentioned before, Barbara is laughing — a beautiful sight. Also, I like to see myself smiling a big smile there, without self-consciousness (about my teeth, for example) or worry of any kind.  Also, everybody else is smiling, too: my mother, my sister, Paul (a family friend and the son of Vic, who — I’m sure — was the photographer), and my father.

And it’s fun for me, right now, to think about why Barbara was laughing and why the rest of us were all smiling, so much, in that photo. I’m guessing this: my father and/or Vic were saying some funny things. That happened a lot, when I was growing up.

Anyway, back to Barbara, in the here and now (my favorite place to be).

And while Barbara isn’t literally with me, now, while I’m typing this … in a way, she really is.

Why do I say that?  Because:

  • I saw her, just yesterday, settled in a new, wonderful, and beautiful home.
  • We had another one of the kashmillion* great talks** we’ve had over the years.
  • I’m very aware that it’s almost her birthday!
  • I love her, very much.

Many thanks to Barbara, my family, Vic’s family, old and new friends, people who show their feelings, and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

* In my on-going efforts to be a truth teller and to give credit where credit is due, I have to say (1) I don’t actually know what number a kashmillion represents, but I know it’s very big and Barbara and I have had so many talks over the years that I’ve lost track of the actual number, although I also want to say that I wish the number was even larger because Barbara is so great to talk to and we don’t see each other as much as both of us would like to and (2) my bf Michael made up that word, not me.

** Among the many topics Barbara and I spoke about yesterday: how she thought I was angry at her last week, which (1) I found quite amazing and hilarious and (2)  gives me the opportunity to link to posts I’ve written about my fear of people being angry at me, including this, this, and this.

Categories: humor, inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Day 422: Singing out loud

I love singing out loud, especially to certain tunes.

When I’m in my car, I don’t repress that urge, at all.

I used to repress the urge to sing out loud elsewhere — assuming that people around me might get annoyed. Lately, I don’t care.

What’s different, now?

Whenever I feel self-conscious these days, I remind myself that:

  • Most people won’t notice, at all.
  • Other people are constantly moving their mouths when they’re alone in public, so now it’s “the norm.”
  • If somebody hears me singing out loud, it won’t kill them (and maybe, just maybe, they’ll enjoy it).

I think I’ve blogged about this before — if  not about singing in public, then definitely about doing a public dance step or two.

Why am I writing about this, today? Because, music is very effective personal medicine for me.  When I listen to music, it makes a huge, positive difference. And whenever I participate, join in, or otherwise perform music … even better.

Last year, in some blog post (which I won’t try to locate now), I made a pledge: to get more involved with music performance. And earlier this week, I had the chance to participate in a local choral group, but … I decided to pass, for now. I just don’t have enough time AND it would have taken me away from dinner with my bf Michael and my son Aaron.

So the time is not quite right for that, but I believe that will happen, soon. And, here’s a helpful reminder:

I have all the time I need.

In the meantime, I would like to make another pledge: to commit to singing out loud — more often and with even less self-consciousness, from this day forth.

What will help me do that?

  • Watching this video, which I LOVE, of two guys who have mixed emotions about the song “Somebody That I Used to Know”, by Gotye:

(Many thanks to The Breakfast Toms.)

  • Reconnecting with an old friend.


Yes, Oscar is an old friend (and an inveterate photo-bomber), but I’m referring to the inhabitant of the background: Ye Olde Karaoke Machine.

I haven’t used that Karaoke machine, in years, and I believe it’s time to crank that sucker up again.

Therefore, I would like to make a commitment — a pledge, if you will:

I pledge — with these fine readers as my witnesses — to, without undue self-consciousness and/or coolness, sing with the aid and abetting of the Karaoke machine pictured above*, tunes including but not restricted to:

  • “Harden my Heart” –  Quarterflash
  • “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – The Tokens
  • “Blue Bayou” – Linda Ronstadt
  • “Mack the Knife” – Bobby Darin
  • “Carry On My Wayward Son” – Kansas
  • “Cry Me A River” – Julie London
  • “Daydream Believer” – The Monkees
  • “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye
  • “I Saw the Light” – Todd Rundgren
  • “The Boy from New York City” – Manhattan Transfer
  • “When Sunny Gets Blue”**

That should help.

Thank you for witnessing!

Hmmmmm. I wonder if I can get a new Karaoke disc, with THIS on it?

… because “Everything is Awesome” has been a relentless earworm since I saw “The Lego Movie” last weekend. And, as The Breakfast Toms might agree: If you can’t beat them, join them.

Feel free to join me, dear readers, in singing out loud.

Thanks to Oscar, to The Breakfast Toms again (because they’re not afraid of repeating themselves), to my old friend Rob (who helped me type up some lists of Karaoke tunes, several years ago), to Lego girl (for the “Everything is Awesome” Youtube video), to all the artists who contributed to the tunes I mentioned above, to people who are brave enough to sing out loud, and to you — of course! — for visiting today.

* If it still works.

** I am using the punctuation and information that I see on my lists of Karaoke tunes… which I found, easily, this morning!  Yay!

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

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