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.”
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:
Since last fall, I’ve been letting go of negative reactions about
my open heart surgery,
the recall of my pacemaker/defibrillator, and
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.
Now I’m letting go of all my other photos from yesterday.
While I did let go of many CDs yesterday, I’m not letting go of any of the Compact Discs shown above.
Yesterday, when I was having a grumpy day, I saw this on a teabag:
What does “Live in your strength” mean to you? Does the strength of that advice live, for you, with any of my live-in-your-strength guesses?
Appreciate what strengths you have.
Live in the moment.
Take advantage of what life gives you.
Find strength wherever you can.
Expand your understanding of your own unique gifts throughout your life.
Embrace what you’re good at.
Share your strengths with others.
Let go of judgment about your limits.
Challenge yourself, with kindness.
Which of my other photos from yesterday best illustrate “live in your strength,” for you?
On the strength of my including two photos of the same lively yellow moped, above, I now want to share these strong life memories:
When I was in my early 20s, I went to Bermuda with my friend Peter and rode a moped for the first time. That made me feel so alive, I bought a yellow moped when I returned to Boston, exactly like that lively one I saw yesterday. For years, I lived on that moped, riding it to work and all around town. After my lifestyle changed and I stopped riding it, I still kept that moped, no matter where I lived. When I moved to where I live now, four years ago, I sold that yellow moped to one of the lively movers. Ever since then, I’ve missed my yellow moped and I’ve envied the lives of scooter riders that live all around me. However, my cardiologist strongly advises me to live the remainder of my life off of mopeds and scooters, because of the strong anti-coagulant medication that helps me live a normal life.
Which “live in your strength” music would you choose for this post? I choose the strongest (or, at least, most popular) song from 1975, the first time in my life that I lived on a moped.
I now invite you to live in your strength by expressing any thoughts and feelings in a comment, below.
Live and strong thanks to Peter, to my cardiologist, to Terry S. at work (who owns the “Daily Bitch” calendar), to the Captain and Tennille, and to all those who live in their strength, here and now (including you, of course).
You may think I am guilty, right now, of the cognitive distortion of labeling, as follows:
Labeling or Name-calling.
We generate negative global judgments based on little evidence. Instead of accepting errors as inevitable, we attach an unhealthy label to ourselves or others. For example, you make a mistake and call yourself a “loser,” a “failure”, or an “idiot.” Labels are not only self-defeating, they are irrational, simplistic, and untrue. Human beings are complex and fallible, and in truth cannot be reduced to a label. Consider this: we all breathe, but would it make sense to refer to ourselves as “Breathers”? *
And perhaps I have used that distortion, about myself. But I want to be clear about what kind of loser I mean, today.
A glove loser.
It seems like there is always something I am losing (or fear I’m losing). These days, it’s those things that protect me from the cold, namely scarves, gloves, and hats.
So far, this season, I have (apparently) lost the wonderful scarf I bought a few months ago — to prepare myself physically and emotionally for the coming winter season — at Urban Outfitters in Cambridge (which I wrote about here).**
Yesterday, after I finished the morning’s blog post, I was scrambling, more than usual, to get ready for work. The reasons for the increased scramble level? The temperature was allegedly going to turn warm, despite a chilly start. So, deciding on the appropriate outer attire was more of a challenge than usual. I chose a lighter coat, and checked the pockets for gloves. To my dismay, there was only one. Here is that lone glove:
This was particularly distressing because of my feelings about those gloves. I like them, very much. Also, I was wearing those gloves when I first met my boyfriend, and in the email he sent me after our first meeting, he singled them out, in his expressed appreciation of our encounter.
Yes, I felt sad, upon seeing that lone, solitary glove. Based on past experiences being a loser, I knew there was a good chance its partner would never be found.
I had mixed feelings — worried that I had finally lost one of these precious gloves, but with some hope the glove would be found.
What did I base that hope on? A lot of data, actually. Not only have I had several false alarms — over the years — about losing one of those cool gloves, but I’ve had many experiences of fearing I’d lost something, only to find it again.
Yesterday, after locating another pair of favorite gloves — bright red ones! — I set off to work, letting go of fear and sadness. And those red gloves kept me nicely warm, during the (surprisingly) cold walk to the hospital.
And I had a good day, doing work I love.
At the end of the day, as I prepared to venture out — into much warmer weather than I had encountered that morning — I looked for my gloves in their usual residing place — my coat pockets.
And there was only one red glove, to be found. WHAT? I thought. How can that be?
That is my usual response, when I first find that I’ve lost something.
WHAT? How can that be?
And, more so than with the first lost glove, this latest loss seemed …. inconceivable.
I thought, “How could I have possibly lost ANOTHER FAVORITE glove, in one day?” I retraced my steps, mentally, as advised when you lose something. I knew I had worn them until I entered the hospital. I knew I had entered the hospital through the main entrance, which is a five-minute walk away from where I work.***
My conclusion was this: the glove HAD to be in the hospital. Before I left the hospital to return home, I checked with a couple of lost-and-found locations. Nada. Other lost gloves had been turned in****, but not a red one, like this:
Now, I must prepare to leave the house to return to work.
Maybe I’ll find that glove today. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find the other, more beloved, glove, too. They’re both out there, somewhere. I know that.
For now, it’s warm enough to venture out gloveless, today.
And if***** it turns cold again?
Thank goodness, those two are still together.
Thanks to losers everywhere and to you — of course! — for visiting today.
See here for more definitions of cognitive distortions.
Alas, I did not capture this beauteous scarf in a photo, nor is it available to view online. However, I still recommend visiting that post where I got it, especially since it includes a guy wearing a bear coat!
Sometimes I deliberately walk through the interior of the hospital, so I can repeat a helpful mantra to myself: ” You are not a patient at this hospital. You work here.” This is helpful because of my extensive experiences, as a child, spending time in a different hospital, because of my congenital heart condition. At other times, I deliberately walk through the interior of the hospital for another reason: just to warm up before my first appointment with patients.
I wanted to find a clip that included JUST that quote, but I couldn’t. So time to move on … to summing up.
Perhaps I avoid summing up. Why? Maybe because summing up can involve numbers*. Or maybe because summing up means conclusions and decisions, which I can also avoid, because I LOVE …
Creating space for people to come to their own conclusions and decisions.
Opening up possibilities, rather than restricting them.
And yet, today is a traditional day for summing up and for conclusions. To get closure. To let go of the past (while still respecting its gifts). To move forward.
I’m now looking at the title of this post, again, with a critical** eye. I’m asking myself, “What is true in that title, and what is opinion?”
Well, it’s an undeniable fact that it’s the End of the Year, right now (at least where I live). But … is it really a Big Deal? And if it IS a big deal … to whom? To me? To you? To other people?
I’ll tell you what I love about “Big Deal!” in that title. It implies “Yes” AND “No.” It contains authenticity AND irony.***
Yes, I love that.
Okay! At this point in today’s blog post, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to re-visit my “About” page, which was written a year ago, to see if I have fulfilled my commitments.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
This blog is part of my creative process.
It’s also a way to work on my growing acceptance and appreciation of life, and to share and develop some of the wisdom I’ve been slowly accumulating. My commitment is to start on January 1, 2013 and to blog once daily, throughout 2013.
This blog is also another way for me to take risks, to venture out into the world in new ways, and to embrace and express all my different human feelings– joy, fear, sadness, anger, the whole Emotional Enchilada. I plan to engage in my well-developed sense of play, and approach some painful material, also.
So this blog does a lot for me!
Hey! You know what? I fulfilled those commitments. I shall now take a moment to celebrate that accomplishment, by asking for “New Year Fireworks” from my old friend, Google Images.
Because celebrating what I’ve done is a skill I continue to work on (and encourage in others), I would like to extend this celebration for few more minutes, via the same request — “New Year fireworks” — from another old friend, YouTube.
Well, I guess you’ll just have to read those posts I wrote, every day, to really answer that question. But, to emulate Inigo Montoya, let me sum up:
I learned many things, from myself and from other people.
I have a lot more to learn.
Therefore, I will continue to blog, as long as I have ideas, and as long as anybody wants to keep reading.
Since I’m continuing on this blogging adventure, what to do about the title of this blog? I mean, it’s “The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally” and that year is coming to a close, today. So, obviously, I have to change it.
That’s been another thing on my friggin’ to do list, y’know?
Well, I highly recommend taking the easy way out, whenever possible. Keep it simple.
And every change, no matter how small, still counts. Every change is a Big Deal.
So without further ado, I shall now unveil the new title of this here blog:
The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally
Yep, that’s it!
I don’t know what YOU think or feel about THAT. However, I do know this:
I LOVE it.
Thanks to all my readers for a year of living, loving, and learning; of disappointment and hope; of fear, sadness, anger, and joy; of all those big deals and more. See you tomorrow, in 2014!
* I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, regarding my feelings about numbers. I love numbers, sometimes. However, numbers are not my native language, so sometimes they challenge me. Hmmm. I don’t like the way I said that. “They challenge me” is too mild, too wimpy a statement. How about this? Sometime, I hate numbers. Nope, too strong. How about this? Sometimes, numbers make me crazy. Nope, “crazy” is not a great word for me to use. How about this? Sometimes they make me angry. Nope, people have trouble with anger. Arrrghh! What’s the right word, regarding me and numbers? Damned if I know, right now. Maybe I’ll figure that out next year.
** In other words, with judgment! Did you catch me?
*** Or humor or sarcasm or whatever else you want to call that.