Posts Tagged With: magic wastepaper basket

Day 2810: Watch

People who watch this blog may have noticed this watch in yesterday’s post:

That is a Fossil shrapnel-guard watch which reminds me of one of the first watches I ever bought. It mimics World War I watches used when people had to watch out for shrapnel while still needing to watch their watches.

Watch what my mind does when I think about watches with shrapnel guards — “So shrapnel guards helped protect the watches but what about the hand wearing the watch?”

Watch where my mind goes next: “When danger is all around, I guess some protection is better than none.”

Now it’s time to watch what I’ve watched recently through my iPhone:

If you watch this blog carefully, you may know that I use a magic wastepaper basket in my “Coping and Healing” groups. Yesterday, I watched while people in a telehealth group threw worry into my magic wastepaper basket (along with markers that no longer work).

Based on what I’ve watched over the years, worry never helps. If you are worrying, watch it! And watch out for worry about worry, which doesn’t help either.

What are you watching these days? Michael and I are still watching Match Game reruns. I like watching those because it’s a group of funny and spontaneous people who obviously like each other, having a good time. Also host Gene Rayburn reminds me a little of my late father (and if you watch this blog, you know it was my dad’s birthday yesterday).

Here‘s the Match Game episode Michael and I watched last night:

Because I watched some information about that “Trench Hand” episode, I know that viewers joined in the fun by sending in donations, which the show gave to a worthy cause.

I also watch that 1970s U.S. game show with new eyes, based on all that I’ve watched since then.

I’ll be watching for comments from you about this “Watch” post. Watch this space for gratitude, every day!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Day 2738: Closure

Because today is my last day as President of the Northeastern Society for Group Psychotherapy, I am thinking about closure.

As I wrote in another blog post about closure,

Closure is important, in order to move on.

There is no right or wrong way to do closure.

Closure is challenging, because it brings up old closures, which often relate to losses.

I like to use the term “ending the chapter”, when I talk to people about closure. Somebody, in my office, recently said that in their culture, they use the term “putting the period on the end of the sentence.” I like that, too.

Here’s what I’ve written, so far, about closure in my final letter from the President:

As I’ve thought about writing this, my final letter to you as President of NSGP, naturally my mind has gone to thoughts of closure. (Personally, I don’t like the word “termination”, because that sounds SO final.) As I have learned from my trainings at NSGP (and as I often tell people in my “Coping and Healing” drop-in groups) a good-enough sense of closure is critical in transitions — allowing us to appreciate what we’ve shared together and to move ahead better equipped for future challenges.

In my groups, we often discuss the insufficient and disappointing closures with family members, friends, work situations, organizations, and other important aspects of our life, and how this lack of satisfying closure in important transitions can keep us stuck. During these challenging days, when we might be feeling uncomfortably stuck, closure is especially important.

So what helps with closure? Saying what feels left unsaid.

Naming what you got.

Naming what you didn’t get.

Discarding what is not serving you well.

Later today, I will facilitate a “Coping and Healing” group on a telehealth platform (which I sometimes call “The Home Version of Coping and Healing”). At the end of the group, the participants will hear me, as usual, acknowledge the importance of  getting closure in the “wrap up” section of the group. I will introduce wrap-up by explaining, again, what helps with closure. I will invite discarding “what is not serving you well” by showing this to the group:



That’s the magic waste paper basket, an important part of my Coping and Healing groups. If you throw something away in the magic waste paper basket, it will either go away or  come back less powerful.  Here’s an incomplete list of what people have thrown away in the magic waste paper basket:

  • self-judgment,
  • self-doubt,
  • difficult people,
  • unhealthy behaviors,
  • negative self-talk,
  • worry,
  • cognitive distortions,
  • pain, and
  • paper.

Do you see closure in these other images?

























We’re working on getting  humane closure with our 18-year-old cat, Oscar, who has cancer.

Here‘s “Closure” by Hayley Warner

… and “Closure” by Opeth:

I’ll get closer to closure by quoting this comment from YouTube about Opeth’s “Closure”:

Alex Mercer
1 year ago
The abrupt ending pisses me off. I need closure!!

Alex Mercer needs closure. Do you?

Gratitude helps me get closure, every day.



Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 823: _____ matters

How would you fill in that blank in the title of today’s post?

To me ….

… because it lifts my heart, no matter what.

Here are some other matters that mattered enough to me, yesterday, that I spied them with my little eye and snapped them with my little iPhone:


Before I started this blog back in 2013, I had no idea that what I see, matters.

One more matter, from my iPhone:

What is the matter with me, that I would take a photo of  a wastepaper basket in my office? How could THAT possibly matter to you or to anybody else ?

Matter of fact, that is  no ordinary wastepaper basket.  Rather, it’s one of the magic wastepaper baskets that matter-ialize whenever I do one of my therapy groups. At the end of each therapy group, I invite people who matter (and who often feel like they do NOT matter) to use the magic waste paper basket, like so:

If you throw something away in the magic wastepaper basket, it might disappear! And even if it DOES come back, it comes back smaller and less powerful.

I guess that matters to some people, because they throw away things like

  • worry,
  • fear,
  • self-criticism,
  • shame,
  • grudges, and
  • Kleenex.

What disposable matters might you throw away in that magic waste paper basket, right now?

It’s a matter of taste what music matters to each of us. Here’s “The Heart of the Matter,” by Don Henley:

The heart of the matter for me, here and now, is this: My heart seems to matter more than usual, these days, to me and to other people, too.

Does it matter to anybody that I wish my heart didn’t matter quite so much to so many heart doctors?

I matter-of-factly need to end this post earlier today than I usually do on a Friday. Why? Because there’s an 8 AM presentation at the hospital where I work, which might include some matters about my therapy groups. No matter what, the presentation is about improving patient care, which really, really matters.

One more thought that matters to me, in this mattering moment:

A doctor who matters a great deal to me told me, two days ago, that I’ll probably never feel as good and healthy as I used to. Even if that’s true,  even if I have a cardiac condition  that increasingly slows me down…..









I STILL MATTER, as much as ever.

What matters most to you, in today’s post?

It matters to me to thank everybody who mattered in my creating this post today and it matters to me —  especially! — to thank you, who matters a great a deal.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Day 342: Doing Nothing/Moving Forward

Yesterday, which was Saturday, I spent most of the day “doing nothing.”

And, yes, I had some judgment about that.

Isn’t that amazing?  It’s friggin’ Day Three Hundred and Forty-Two in this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, and I am STILL judging myself, when I have a day like that.


If I am still judging myself for such things, after so many days of working so hard on letting go of judgment, including writing a post EVERY FRIGGIN’ DAY in service of that, IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME?


Well, yes.  I believe there is.

Why do I believe that? Lots of reasons, including:

  • I know that I will continue to judge, because judging is human.
  • Every day, I learn more about forgiving myself for that, and letting go of judgment (including judgment about my judgment).
  • I know that I’m not alone, in all of this.

Now that I have hope,  I can move forward with this post.

So!  Here’s how I spent my day yesterday, after writing my blog post in the morning:

  • I spent a lot of time online, reading other people’s words and checking to see if other people were reading my words.
  • I watched the first episode of “The Story of FIlm: An Odyssey,” which is currently available to stream on Netflix.Image
  • I watched the very popular movie “The Avengers,” which is currently available to stream on Netflix.


  • My bf Michael and I walked to a nearby Indian Restaurant, to pick up some food.
  • Michael and I watched the highly recommended movie, “Shall We Dance,” which is currently available to stream on Netflix.


  • Inspired by that movie, we practiced Argentine Tango, for approximately three minutes.
  • I wrote somebody an email regarding ideas for Christmas presents and did a little research about those, for approximately five minutes.

Hmmm. Now that I’ve written that list, and I’ve gone back to re-read the beginning of this post, I realize this: I did NOT do nothing yesterday. I did, at least, eight things (including writing yesterday’s post).

Actually, I can add a 9th thing to that list, of things I did yesterday:

I thought about what I was NOT doing, which included:

  • Exercising more.
  • Getting out more.
  • Doing more, regarding Christmas shopping.
  • Finishing work I needed to bring home, which is due on Monday.

Here’s the deal, people:  Whatever we choose to do, there are infinite things  we are NOT doing.  Infinite.  That is NOT an exaggeration.

Therefore, I will spare you the complete list of What I Did Not Do, Yesterday.

During the second week of 2013, My First Year of Blogging, I wrote a post called “Focus on what you are doing (rather than on what you’re not doing).”  I continue to find that phrase a helpful reminder, every day. I love reminding others about that, too.

When I came up with the title for this post, this morning, I was intending to write about something else (my lack of action, so far, in getting a sleep study, and how I plan to take the next step, regarding that).

I’ve decided not to write about that, today.

So I can add What I Did Not Write About Today to the list of Things I Am Not Doing Today.  A list which will be infinite, as I hope I have proven, this fine morning.

So what should I do with THAT infinite list?

I choose to throw it away, in this magic wastepaper basket:


(which made a previous appearance, here).

Feel free to throw away anything you aren’t finding useful, too.

Thanks to  my old friend Peter (for recommending “Shall We Dance?”), IMDb, Netflix (even though I’m mad at them),  magic wastepaper baskets, list-makers everywhere, those who are doing nothing and moving forward,  and to you — especially — for reading today.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

Day 245: Lucky

Here are some things I feel lucky about this morning.

I feel lucky to have a job  that engages my brain, my heart, and my soul —  doing therapy groups to promote healing and growth.

I’m lucky that this work — because it takes place in a hospital* — gives me the opportunity to move forward in my own process of healing and growth.

I’m lucky that I get to work with doctors who are palpably committed to good patient care.

I am lucky that I get to blog about my anxieties and my hopes about doing this work, because it helps me feel less alone in those feelings.

I’m lucky that I have readers, like Louise Gallagher, who say wise and helpful things (like Louise’s comment on my blog post yesterday).

I am lucky for each and every person who has ever read this blog, because whether or not you ever press “like” or write a comment, my knowing that you are receiving these words, as I move forward this year, helps me more than I can say.


When I started this blog post today, I thought I might be using a Magic Wastepaper Basket, because  I was thinking of throwing away some old beliefs that contribute to my anxiety about public speaking.

Instead, I wrote about luck.

Throughout this year, I’ve created various “magical” receptacles, including this box for “Emergency Messages” (see here):



This “Worry Box” (see here and here):



And, the aforementioned “Magic Wastepaper Baskets” (see here and here, for two versions).




Perhaps I should make another Magical Receptacle today, to hold Lucky Thoughts.  Grateful Thoughts.

But, I’m realizing I don’t need to create that, this morning. I already have something to hold those kinds of thoughts.

This blog.

Thanks for reading today, everybody.


*As I’ve been writing about, throughout this year, I spent time in the hospital, for heart problems, when I was growing up.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 237: What other people say

I have a really good memory, it seems, for what other people say.

Not for everything everybody says, of course.  It’s amazing the things I’ve forgotten over the years.   But I think I still have a pretty good memory for what people say.

Certain things people say really grab my attention, including these:

  1. Anything that indicates danger to somebody.
  2. Things said by people I respect.
  3. Comments about me, about what I’ve created, and about how I’m living in this world.

This is a partial list,  but those are on my mind, this morning.


Because I’m realizing, again, that some things people have said, over the years, have gotten “stuck” in my memory. They loom too large. And they’re not helpful.

I’m not blaming the people who said those things, right now.

In some cases, these people may not have even said what I heard.

It doesn’t matter, though, does it? Those things have stuck.

And I’d like to let go of those things, or at least reduce their power.

I have an idea!  How about if I write a few of these things down, and put them in a “magic” wastepaper basket?

Here’s one:


That’s not helping me these days.  So let’s crumple that one up:



Here’s another one, that hasn’t been helping:


Let’s crumple that one, too,  to reduce its power.



That felt good, I must say.

Next, let’s throw these two things away.  That means I need to choose a wastepaper basket.  Decisions, decisions.

I know!  This one:


Perfect!  Now, let’s throw those things away:



They’re in the magic wasterpaper basket!  Hooray!

Before I end this post for today, I would like to share something else I heard somebody say.  Opposed to the two things I just threw away, this is something

  1. I heard recently and
  2. I would like to stick in my memory more (not less).

I heard this yesterday, when I listened to this TED talk by lexicographer Erin McKean:

TED talk by Erin McKean

Here’s what she said that I especially want to remember now*:

“When parts of your job are not easy or fun, you kind of look for an excuse not to do them.”  (At 1:54 in the talk.)

That’s much better, rather than labeling myself …

A Procrastinator.


Or, this:


Hey!  It’s another job for the magic wastepaper basket!

Thanks to Erin McKean,  all the people in my life who’ve taken the time to tell me something they thought would be helpful, cool wastepaper baskets everywhere, and to you, too, for reading today.


*Erin McKean refers to something else, in this talk, which I found incredibly valuable when somebody told me about it many years ago.  At 5:00, she describes what she calls “The Ham Butt Problem”, which also relates to letting go of old, unhelpful ways of thinking!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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