Posts Tagged With: memories

Day 1659: Everything must go

Because today is moving day, everything must go, including everything I photographed yesterday. 




Everything must go, including that important message I wrote yesterday. 

Here’s “Everything Must Go” by Steely Dan, who are everything. 

Before everything must go to our new home by the ocean, I must go to sincere thanks to all who helped me create this everything-must-go post and — of course! — to you, for going with me. 

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Day 1651: Moving experiences

We’re moving. How do you experience moving?  Most people find moving a stressful experience.

Moving often involves letting go of old stuff, which can be a moving and emotional experience.

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Yesterday, I was moving, packing up, and recycling many things in our basement, including that chart of emotions I used when my son Aaron was very young.  I was moved by many of the emotions on that chart as I sorted through what we had moved down into the basement during our last moving experience.

 

I have excuses and alibis for including the seven videos below  — moving on YouTube herehere, here, here, here,  here,  and here  –because of all the moving memories I experienced yesterday.

If you want to share your experience of this post, please move down to the comments section below.

Moving thanks to all who helped me experience all those moving memories yesterday and inspired me to create today’s post. More moving thanks to you — of course! — for bringing your moving experiences here, now.

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

Day 1644: What is the name of this post?

Hello, my name is Ann and I think the name of this post should be

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“Projects” (because I’m doing lots of projects as I prepare for the move to our new home),

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Magic” (because I see magic everywhere),

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“Fun to Know and Easy to Love” (because people in my life are fun to know and easy to love), or

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“1 in a Million” (because we’re all one in a million).

What do YOU think the name of this post should be?

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That’s the Halloween costume my son, whose name is Aaron, wore many years ago. Carrying a spray bottle, Aaron asked people to name what he was, spritzed them with water and said, “I’m partly cloudy with a chance of showers.”

I’m thinking that the title of this post should be “1 in a Million” because, on a 1 in a million chance, I reconnected with an old friend yesterday, who is a 1-in-a-million musician and a 1-in-a-million friend, David Smith, whom I first met at the Berklee summer program in 1969.

Here‘s my old friend Dave conducting the Clarksville Middle School Wind Ensemble:

Actually, perhaps the name of this post should be “Reverberations.”

No matter what your name is, what do you think the name of this post should be?

As always, the name of today’s post could be “Thanks,” because that’s what I’m feeling, here and now.

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

Day 1043: Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu.  That strange feeling we sometimes get that we’ve lived through something before — that what is happening now has already happened.

Way back in the 1960’s, I learned that Déjà Vu is a glitch in our cognition — an experience going into the memory section of the brain too quickly. Since then, whenever I feel that strange feeling of Déjà Vu, I just go along for the ride.

Here are some quotes about Déjà Vu:

It’s déjà vu all over again.
Yogi Berra

For a few precarious seconds, the chaplain tingled with a weird, occult sensation of having experienced the identical situation before in some prior time or existence. He endeavored to trap and nourish the impression in order to predict, and perhaps even control, what incident would occur next, but the afflatus melted away unproductively, as he had known beforehand it would. Déjà vu. The subtle recurring confusion between illusion and reality that was characteristic of paramnesia fascinated the chaplain, and he knew a number of things about it. He knew, for example, that it was called paramnesia and he was interested as well in such corollary optical phenomena as jamais vu, never seen, and presque vu, almost seen. There were terrifying, sudden moments when objects, concepts and even people that the chaplain had lived with almost all his life inexplicably took on an unfamiliar and irregular aspect that he had never seen before and which made them seem totally strange: jamais vu. And there were other moments when he almost saw absolute truth in brilliant flashes of clarity that almost came to him: presque vu. The episode of the naked man in the tree at Snowden’s funeral mystified him thoroughly. It was not déjà vu, for at the time he had experienced no sensation of ever having seen a naked man in a tree at Snowden’s funeral before. It was not jamais vu, since the apparition was not of someone, or something, familiar appearing to him in an unfamiliar guise. And it was certainly not presque vu, for the chaplain did see him…

Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1961), pp. 52-53.

We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time — of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances — of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remembered it!

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850), Ch. 39.

There are some places which, seen for the first time, yet seem to strike a chord of recollection. “I have been here before,” we think to ourselves, “and this is one of my true homes.” It is no mystery for those philosophers who hold that all which we shall see, with all which we have seen and are seeing, exists already in an eternal now; that all those places are home to us which in the pattern of our life are twisting, in past, present and future, tendrils of remembrance round our heart-strings.

E. C. Bentley and H. Warner Allen, Trent’s Own Case (1936), Chapter XV.

In the condition of “deja vu” it is probable that what takes place is that one or several elements in the present situation are like those which had been experienced in the past, but that the dissimilarities in the situations are not observed. The individual has a memory defect in that he parallels or identifies a complex present experience with a similar complex past experience, although in the present experience the number of elements which are the same as those in the past may not be very great. In other words, the present experience is deemed to be the same as that of the past because of the fact that the past is not accurately remembered and properly localized in time.

Shepherd Ivory Franz, “Delusions”, Popular Science, January 1915, Vol. 86, p. 90.

To the category of the wonderful and uncanny we may also add that strange feeling we perceive in certain moments and situations when it seems as if we had already had exactly the same experience, or had previously found ourselves in the same situation. … I believe that it is wrong to designate the feeling of having experienced something before as an illusion. On the contrary, in such moments something is really touched that we have already experienced, only we cannot consciously recall the latter because it never was conscious. In short, the feeling of Déjà vu corresponds to the memory of an unconscious fantasy.

Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901), tr. A. A. Brill (1915), pp. 320–321.

When some French were assembling an encyclopedia of paranormal experiences, they decided to leave déjà vu out, because it was so common it could not be considered paranormal.

Kim Stanley Robinson, Galileo’s Dream (2009), Ch. 13, p. 284

Do you get Déja Vu about this music?

Any Déjà Vu about these photos I took yesterday?

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Any Déjà Vu, now, if I thank everyone who helped me create this post today AND you, for experiencing it?

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 40 Comments

Day 992: Wait People

Rather than use the words “waitress” and “waiter” these days, I often use the term “wait people.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to tell you why. I tend to avoid gender specific labels, like waitress.

If you want more examples of that, you don’t have long to wait, people.  Instead of saying “Chairmen,” I’ll say “Chair People.”

You don’t have to wait, people, for me to show you two pictures I took last night, which “Chair People” is now bringing to mind:

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Chairs AND people, right?

My posts are like the New England weather. If you want them to change, just wait, people. And you don’t need to wait, people, for some more photos from yesterday.

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That’s the first photo I took yesterday, after some people waited to see me for therapy. I saw that at the hospital gift shop, where there’s often a short wait, people. If you want me to explain exactly what a “Littlest Red Sox Fan Den” is, you’ve got a long time to wait, people.

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People I work with in therapy sometimes wait, people, before letting go of unhelpful, critical, and judgmental things other people have said about them — like “She is taking up too much space.” Yesterday, people waited no more and let go of some of those internalized, toxic messages. Why wait, people?

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Wait, people!  I usually don’t swear in these posts, but that was a helpful phrase for a person I waited for in therapy, yesterday.

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Good health care is not something people should wait for, people.

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Those waiting for fall around here don’t have too much longer to wait, people.

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It’s been a long wait, people, since I last posted about the faces there are in pansies, if people wait long enough to see them.

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Bostonians need to wait, people, for reasonably priced parking for events. If you ask me what event people were waiting for at Fenway Park last night, you have a long time to wait, people. But wait, people!  Our friendly fellow-blogger Mark Bialczak might look that up and tell us, after a short wait.

Speaking of reasonably priced parking, last night I found a free parking space in Harvard Square without a wait, people!  I went to Harvard Square to see this new musical.

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I won’t make you wait, people, for a great song from the wonderful Waitress.

While I was waiting for the play to start, I revisited a lot of places where I used to wait, people, when I was in college and (afterwards, too).

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I used to wait, people, in those three locations to

  1.  have meals with friends,
  2. see Jackie Chan movies and
  3. take several adult education classes, including percussion, jazz theory, cartooning, and “Stand Up Comedy” with Ron Lynch (and if you can’t wait, people, to read more posts about Ron Lynch, see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

I rarely wait, people, to get chocolate or to connect with sweet people.

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That’s Lina. She was kind enough, as she waiting on me, to tell me she took the job at L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square because “I like the way people talk about chocolate here.” As I was waiting for her to ring up my purchases, I took this photo:

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and said to Lina, “I’m always taking photos for my blog.”  Lina didn’t wait to say this, “That’s the way art works.”

I didn’t wait, people, to eat the chocolate Lina sold me …

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… while I was waiting for Waitress to begin.

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After I saw Waitress, I couldn’t wait, people, to see my boyfriend Michael, who was waiting for me in Harvard Square after helping his brother wait on people for five long days. While I was waiting for Michael last night, I took pictures of places we waited and where wait people had waited on us on our first date, five years ago:

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Wait, people!  There’s one more thing I want to say, before I publish this Wait People post.

Tonight, after five months of planning and 45 years of some people waiting to see each other, I’m going to my high school reunion.

No more wait, people!

I won’t wait, people, to thank all those people who made this post possible. And special thanks to you — of course! — for waiting, people, for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 36 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.

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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):

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This “Worry Box” (see here and here):

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

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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.

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*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 205: Missing People

One thing I’ve learned doing therapy groups for over thirteen years:

I (and other people) often struggle balancing the focus on (1) people who are present and (2) people who are missing.

And people often are missing, at any group meeting.

I often name that — in any group therapy session where people who are expected aren’t there. I’ll say group-therapy-type things like, “I’m aware that so-and-so is not here. I’m also very aware of everybody who is here, and wondering how the absence is affecting you.”

I try not to have assumptions about how an absence affects others. I know it affects different people in different ways. But I know it has some effect.

Everything has some effect. And people who are missing can have a big effect.

Those of us who are present at the meeting often don’t know where the missing people are. And we want to know where people — and things — are. (See here, for George Carlin’s amazing take on losing Things.) We don’t want lose track of them.

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about them. Why aren’t they here? Are they okay?

Sometimes, when people are missing, it speaks to our fears about ourselves. Are they missing because I — and this gathering — were not important enough to them?

Sometimes we’re angry at the people who aren’t there. Why didn’t they let us know? I made the effort to be here, why couldn’t they?

This topic is on my mind, today, because I do groups, every week, where somebody is sometimes missing.

Plus, I went to a high school reunion, on Saturday, where people were missing, too.

At the reunion, some people who were definitely expected were not there. For some of those people, I knew the reasons why they weren’t there. For others, we had no idea why they were missing (to some of those people, I’ve since sent the question, “Are you okay?”)

Also, there were the people who were missing from my high school reunion for a reason we knew: they had passed away.

As one of the planners of the reunion, I found out about some of the people from my class who have died as I was trying to contact people.

I confess: that was one reason I sometimes procrastinated contacting people, for fear of what I might hear about them.

And at the reunion, as in my therapy groups, I struggled balancing my focus on the people who were there with the people who weren’t.

Here are the people who were there:

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Here are some of the people who weren’t there, RIP:

Marie Bilodeau

Sheila Burns

Chester Caldwell

Maryann Caproni

Sandra Cross

Louis Defelice

John Espinola

Cheryl Freedman

Alexander Fried

Herbert Garrette

Chris Janakas

Robert Myers

Melissa Newman

Donna Riddell

Jamie Solomson

Maureen Thompson

Anne Townsend

Christian Zahr

Why am I including this list of people on this blog, where the vast majority of readers do not know them? Why am I being so careful to spell their names correctly? Why am I afraid I am forgetting somebody?

Because people are very important. Even when they’re not in touch with how important they are.

That reminds me of the one point I wanted to make before I finish this post (and get to work on time so I can do another group) (where some people will be present and some people will not).

When people aren’t at a group, where they are expected, it has a huge effect on the people who are there. I see it, every time.

And the people who aren’t there don’t know that. How could they? They’re not there.

One final reference before I stop, for the day. My friend Janet, from Film School, loves this movie:

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I know a lot of other people who love this movie, too. I’m glad that Jimmy Stewart, in that movie, had that special and magical experience: He found out how much he was missed, when he wasn’t there.

Many thanks to all from my high school class (who were at the reunion and who was not), Janet, George Carlin, Frank Capra, and all of you, here today.

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

Day 194: Personal Power

Dear Reader,

I would like to share some Random Thoughts on personal power, on a Saturday morning (after an exhausting week at work and during a morning where I have just re-read two of my blog posts from earlier this year — Post One and Post Two).

(Why did I re-read those particular blog posts? Because I noticed that somebody in Finland had just read the first one and there was a link — or ping-back — in the first one to the second one.) (Talk about random ….)

Without further ado … (Jerry Seinfeld — or perhaps Garry Shandling — once said, “What is ‘ado’, anyway, and why should there be no further of it?”):

Random Thoughts About Personal Power

(“Random,” in this context, means, “I have no friggin’ clue how I am going to organize or choose among all the thoughts I am having about this, right now.”)

1. There are times, in our lives, when our personal power is greatly restricted or non-existent, to our detriment and pain.

Obviously, this is true if we are subjugated to unjust laws that restrict freedom and cause suffering.

This is also true if our role or position intrinsically has less power. (Being a child is just one example.)

2. Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out how much personal power we have in a situation. When we perceive that we are powerless, it is difficult to act. We might focus our energy and thoughts on survival, rather than on the possibility of change.

3. Often, we need the help of others to leverage and support our personal power.

And on a more personal note …

4. The Tiger (which has shown up in my blog posts here and — what amazed me this morning — in both the blog posts I referred to, above) might stand for anger…. or it might stand for Personal Power.

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Before I end this post for the day (so I can go out into the world and, perhaps, exercise some personal power, in some small way), I would like to tell you about a Worksheet I use in my groups.

I hand out worksheets, about topics that often come up in groups. These worksheets have a few questions on them. The participants write their thoughts down and then the group members share these thoughts and discuss them.

One of these worksheets is on the topic of Personal Power. The questions are something like this (I can’t access the exact language, because I am not at work today):

Worksheet on Personal Power

1. What does “personal power” mean to you?

2. What are some examples of times when you were able to exercise personal power? What are some times when you were not?

3. What gets in the way of you having personal power?

4. What helps you recognize and use your personal power?

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(I am now letting go of judgment about how well I was able to remember those questions as well as judgment about the questions themselves.)

Okay, I now need to end this post, to obey the rules of time and space (and get to an appointment on time).

Thanks to all,
Ann

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 164: Unfreezing

When I was a kid, I had lots of scary experiences in the hospital, all by myself, because my parents weren’t allowed to be with me.

I remember listening to the beeping sounds of heart monitors, in the darkest part of the night, feeling frozen.

I’m writing this blog post from a cot in a hospital room, next to my amazing 15-year-old son, who is recovering quite nicely from a procedure, this afternoon, to correct a “spontaneous pneumothorax.”

Earlier, this was the view from his hospital room as day turned to night:

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It’s the darkest part of the night, right now. The only sounds I hear in this room are reassuring ones, including those of my son’s undisturbed sleep.

Each moment I’m with him now, I’m unfreezing.

Thanks, so much, for witnessing this.

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

Day 161: Tales of Tigers

Tiger Tale # 1

When I was a little kid, my parents went away on a trip. They brought home, as a gift for me, a Steiff puppet, that looked a lot like this:

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I was apparently unfamiliar with the fine points of animal classification at that age, because I named it “Tiger,” despite the telltale lack of stripes on its fuzzy little body. Tiger became my favorite toy. I slept with Tiger and often carried him around with me. As we say in the psychology business, Tiger was a transitional — or comfort — object. Or, as one might say in any business, I loved Tiger very much.

One of my main memories of Tiger is — of course — a scary one (since those are one type of memory that tends to stick). My family and the family of my mother’s best friend were visiting New York City. I was carrying Tiger with me, and Richie — the son of my mother’s friend, who was a little younger than I — grabbed Tiger away from me, yelled, “I’m throwing this off the top of the Empire State Building,” and ran away. I remember being so scared and upset, in that moment, standing frozen and alone, both Tiger and Richie gone.

I can’t remember details about what happened next, except for vague memories of Richie catching some hell about that. And I know that Tiger was returned to me, because here he is:

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Two things you might note about Tiger today. (1) He is hangin’, these days, with his own transitional object and (2) the top of his head is particularly fuzzy. The latter is due to his needing corrective surgery years ago, after being placed on the top of a lamp, so he could listen to a little girl practice piano.

Tiger Tale # 2.

When I was 10 years old, and had my first major heart surgery at Children’s Hospital, I know I didn’t have my comfort object, Tiger, with me. People probably thought I might lose him. Or maybe there were other rules about that. I know there were rules, during those days, that prevented my parents from being with me there, outside of normal visiting hours. (Things have changed, quite a bit, regarding parents and children and hospitals, since 1963.)

My mother told me a story, later, about sitting at my bedside, soon after that surgery, during regular visiting hours. I had fallen asleep. Suddenly, I stiffened. As my mother described it, “You went stiff as a board. Then, you yelled, ‘I have a tiger in me! A tiger!!'”

My mother was freaked out and frightened by that, I know. Again, I don’t remember the details that followed.

That tale has always stuck with me. My assumptions about that — then and now — include these: I was in pain. I felt like violence had been done to me (and my world). I was probably scared and angry.

One thing I’m noticing now: Just like with my Steiff puppet, I used the word “tiger” not-exactly-correctly, to name something important to me.

As I’m revisiting this story today, I’m glad I didn’t yell out the name of another ferocious thing with fangs and claws — like Bear, Beast, or Monster. Instead, I used the name of something I already loved.

In a lot of ways, I’m still making sense of that moment.

For example, this is a book I’ve been reading lately:

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I bought this book, years ago, because of the title. Since then, it’s been recommended by several people, as an effective way to work with people dealing with PTSD symptoms. I’ve resisted reading it, until now. (Also, I CANNOT hold on to the first word in the title of that book. Whenever I mention it to somebody — a healer, or somebody who wants to heal — I can never remember the verb. In my mind, I struggle: “Taming the Tiger?” “Turning the Tiger?” “Stirring the Tiger?” And I look it up, every time, to discover that first word, anew.)

The time is here for me to look more closely at that tiger. And even wake it, in some way.

Something that helps me feel braver and more ready: I’ve always loved cats, of all kinds. Big ones. Little ones. Wild ones. Tame ones.

Including this tiger-striped one, who watches me as I write:

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Thanks to all, for reading today.

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