Posts Tagged With: Michael Brecker

Day 2217: How to accept personal comments

How do you accept personal comments — compliments or criticism?

As we approach the end of 2018, I’m resolving to accept all personal comments the same way.

With gratitude and joy.

I’m not saying that accepting personal  comments with gratitude and joy will be easy.  Compliments and criticism can be very difficult to accept, for different reasons.

Therefore, I shall now practice this new resolution, as I imagine all sorts of people giving me personal comments.

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As I embrace the preciousness of this moment, I believe accepting personal comments with gratitude and joy will be good for my self care and for the care of others.

Also, it helps me to remember that personal comments are often the reflection of the person making the comment. In other words, it’s nothing personal.

I look forward to your personal comments on this post.

As always, I’m joyfully and personally grateful to all those who helped me create today’s post and to every person who visits this blog, including YOU.

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

Day 1757: Don’t take it personally

Don’t take it personally, but I’m reusing a photo from two days ago to start off this blog post.

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Don’t take it personally, but I’ve personally blogged about personalization — the cognitive distortion of taking things too personally — several times before (including here, here, and here).

Yesterday, my niece Laura

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(on the left, next to her daughter Victoria) told me that people might take it personally when I recently blogged about a get-together at my place next weekend, because I hadn’t invited them.  I told Laura, “Don’t take it personally.  That’s a gathering for a professional organization of group therapists.”

I hope Laura and Victoria don’t take it personally that I didn’t take a better picture of them yesterday.

Don’t take it personally that I personally took all these photos yesterday and you’re not in any of them.

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Actually, don’t take it personally that I said you weren’t in any of those photos and you are, because you’re my ex-sister-in-law Deborah (who appears in several portraits above and who designed and built another beautiful home for sale), Cher,  Audrey who works at Pet Life, or Harley the cat.

Don’t take it personally that I have to rush and finish this post before I go to work.

Don’t take it personally that I’m using Michael Brecker’s tune “Nothing Personal” again in this blog.

Please take it personally that I’m thanking everybody who helps me create these blog posts and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: cognitive behavioral therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1640: Personal medicine, again

Because this blog is personal medicine for me, I’ve been publishing daily posts since January 1, 2013.  During that time, I’ve personally blogged twice before about personal medicine (here and here).

Yesterday, in a therapy group, it was personal medicine for all of us to share our personal medicine.

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Notice that the first item on my list of personal medicine is my sister. That’s because Ellen had texted me during the group that she was in the building where I work. After the group, I had the personal medicine of hanging out with Ellen in the lobby of the hospital. She showed me a graph she had created about how Perceivers perform tasks.

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Ellen showed me the personal medicine of that chart because, in Myers-Briggs lingo, I’m a perceiver and she’s a judger. I was initially interested and excited, then I got diverted by other priorities.

One of my other priorities yesterday was to go on a walk-through — with my boyfriend Michael, our realtor Jane, and the current owner —  of our very-soon-to-be-new home near the ocean.

 

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It’s personal medicine for me to look at that last photo. Imagine the personal medicine of living there, after the closing today.

When Michael and I got back to our soon-to-be-not home last night, we found a note from my son Aaron. Michael did his own personal medicine of  writing back on the note.

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Did you see that music is also on my list of personal medicine, above?

I hope you know your comments are also personal medicine for me. Please share your personal medicine, below.

Personal thanks to all who helped me create another personal-medicine post and — of course! — to YOU.

Categories: blogging, group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1485: Ask

Ask for what you want.

Ask for what you need.

Ask for help.

Ask questions.

Ask without fear.

Ask and ye shall receive.

I ask myself these questions, here and now:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What will make me happy?
  • How can I achieve peace?
  • What can I do to make the world better?
  • How much time do I have?
  • What lyrics should I write to this song?

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This person who loves asks that you ask or answer questions in a comment below.

Finally, I ask that you accept my gratitude for all who helped me create this post and for YOU, no matter what you’re asking today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1379: My boyfriend, Michael

My boyfriend, Michael, took over this daily blog three weeks ago when I underwent open heart surgery.

My boyfriend, Michael, DOUBLED my readership, temporarily, with the two posts he wrote on September 21 and September 22.

My boyfriend, Michael, made me laugh so hard  after I got my new heart valve at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on September 21, that it HURT.

My boyfriend, Michael, is already sick of telling certain stories about our trip to Minnesota, so I guess I should start telling them, here and now:

Story #1:

Immediately after my open heart surgery on September 21, I woke up eager to communicate, but  I had a breathing tube down my throat preventing me from talking, so Michael and the ICU nurse, Gene, got me a pad and paper.  Gene and Michael had trouble reading what I was writing, which frustrated me.  The first thing I wrote was, “Am I okay?” Michael replied, “It went great!”  I wrote back, “Would you tell me if it didn’t?” Michael said, “I don’t know how to answer that question, baby.” Then, Gene took over trying to decipher what I was writing on the pad of paper. As  I laboriously wrote out “I dreamed  of Michael”, Gene said to Michael, “Hey!  Your name is Michael, right? I guess she dreamed of you!”  I disgustedly shook my head and completed the sentence: “I dreamed of Michael BRECKER” (the jazz saxophonist whose music my cardiac surgeon played during my heart valve replacement surgery).

Story #2:

Because Michael is so charming and engaging, he connected and chatted with all my ICU nurses, which I enjoyed,  but it also annoyed me when I wanted their attention. Also, some of the topics Michael and my ICU nurses were discussing bothered me, because I was feeling so vulnerable.  For example,  my third ICU nurse, named Jason, was a beekeeper, so  Jason and Michael had a discussion about bees. I eventually interrupted them and  said, “Hey! It’s upsetting me to hear you talk about bees.  Don’t you know that the bees are DYING?”  In the meantime, a doctor had come in to examine me and  discuss my progress, and she concluded,  in a thick Slavic accent: “Okay.   We will continue monitoring her hemoglobin,  give her more medication for her nausea, start Coumadin through her IV, and don’t talk about the bees.”

My boyfriend, Michael, tells those two stories much better than I do.

My boyfriend, Michael, who is an excellent cook, used his phone yesterday to communicate with my 18-year-old son, Aaron, to teach him how to make his first quesadillas at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

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My boyfriend, Michael, was happy to get back from Minnesota, two weeks ago, to see our two cats, Oscar and Harley.

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My boyfriend, Michael, really likes the group Joy Division, who never sound particularly joyful to me.

 

My boyfriend, Michael, isn’t going to express his gratitude to all those who helped his girlfriend create this post and to all those who are reading it, but I will!

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Categories: blogging, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 84 Comments

Day 1360: Clean and ready

The title for today’s post comes from a sign I saw yesterday on an examining table at the Mayo Clinic.

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Yesterday, I was clean and ready to use the knowledge and advice of Dr. Carol Warnes, the expert on unusual hearts like mine.

This morning, after using a special anti-bacterial soap, I am clean and ready for my open heart surgery today.

My boyfriend Michael, who took the photo above,  is clean and ready for guest blog appearances here.

After I had my cardiac catherization yesterday, which showed that my arteries are clean and ready for today’s surgery, I met the amazing Dr. Joseph Dearani, the Mayo heart surgeon who will be replacing my leaky valve with a clean and ready to use  mechanical one. When I was ready to share with Dr. Dearani my knowledge that he plays jazz saxophone,  Dr. Dearani was ready to answer my question, “Who is your favorite jazz sax player?”  I was clean amazed that he named my favorite saxophone player — the late,  great Michael Brecker.  I asked Dr. Dearani if he would play Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny music in the operating room during my surgery, and he was cleanly ready to do that.

Are you clean and ready for my other photos from yesterday?

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That last photo shows the clean and ready waiting room near admissions, where I’ll check in today at 5:30 AM, after this  post is clean and ready to publish.

Are you clean and ready for using a tune  with Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny playing  clean and beautiful musical lines?

 

I am clean and ready to join Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny in expressing that readily beautiful sentiment: “Every day I thank you.”

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Day 644: Magical

Today’s post title was inspired by this Jaco Pastorius tune, magically playing as I walked around yesterday, during a magically beautiful Sunday.

(YouTube video of Opus Pocus by Jaco Pastorius found here)

Jaco Pastorius was a magician of a jazz bass player, who apparently had bipolar disorder and who died way too young.  He played on several of my favorite albums of the 1970’s, like Jaco Pastorius (where “Opus Pocus” appears)

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and Weather Report‘s Black Market

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To demonstrate for you, ladies and gentlemen, the magic of Jaco, I looked for videos on YouTube of him playing live. And I found something very magical, for me:  the full Shadows and Light concert from 1979, with many of my favorite magicians/musicians, including:

If you wish to see that musical magic (and how Magicians Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays looked and sounded when I first saw them at the Paradise in Boston), click on this magical link.

I am not imbedding the video of that concert into this post, because I’m concerned about how blog-posting magic might be working for me, these days.  I’ve heard from some of my magical readers —  Mark Bialczak and LadyPinkRose — about my posts loading too slowly.

Technology can seem like magic to me.  When I am doing something new, I tend to learn only those spells I need to get some magic started. If there are problems later (in blogging and elsewhere), I can forget my ability to learn anew, to keep  enchantments coming.

I’m working on improving the magic here. For now,  I’m wondering how these images from yesterday are going to magically appear, for you:

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Did you notice anything magically new there, in any way? (I’m going to reveal my behind-the-scenes trick: I tried to improve the WordPress Photo Witchcraft today, by scaling down those images in my media library.)

Now that I’ve magically altered my state of mind (if not my photos) — by summoning up that joyous performance  of “In France They Kiss on Main Street” (starting at the 2:00 minute mark of the Shadows and Light concert) AND by sharing some personal magic with you — I’m ready to publish this post and start my work week.

I wonder what other magic I’ll encounter today?

Categories: inspiration | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 587: It’s Been Real

(opening music video found here, on YouTube)

“It’s Been Real” is a way people say “Goodbye.”

Is that a particularly American way people say “Goodbye”?  Is it a sarcastic way?  Is it a cool way? Is it a way to — even unconsciously — acknowledge that being real with each other, during any encounter, seems important?

Sometimes I wonder whether my personal interpretations and experiences match other people’s.  Therefore, I just googled “It’s Been Real” and found this:

it’s been real 
A farewell greeting, but with a negative connotation. The speaker is usually disappointed or annoyed at the person to whom (s)he is speaking.
It’s been real. Have a nice life.

Aha!  Urban Dictionary thinks that it’s a particularly negative way to say “Goodbye.” However, I’m not sure if I want Urban Dictionary to be the final authority. After all, Urban Dictionary also says that “It’s been real” is “a farewell greeting,” which seems like an oxymoron, to me.

Let’s see what Yahoo Answers has to say about “It’s been real.”

What does “It’s Been Real” mean?   When you hang out with someone and they say this to you as you’re saying goodbye, what does this mean? Positive/negative connotation?

While that reminds me of All-or-Nothing thinking (judging something as either all positive OR all negative, with no shadings in between) … I still think it’s a good question.

And here is the “best answer”:

It’s positive. It means the time you spent together was genuine, without pretentiousness or egoism.

Wow. That’s confusing.  The first two definitions I find, through Google, are completely contradictory.

I’ll try a third  definition, as a tie-breaker.

Hmmmm. I don’t know if Slang Dictionary — which is the third and final entry coming up for me in Google —  is really going to help much. That says:

It’s been fun, nice

… with no other explanation or connotation, except for this mysterious line:

See also: I don’t know who is fucking skinning this cat, but I’m getting scratched.

Okay. Now my mind is totally blown, and I’m not sure HOW I’m going to finish this post.

There ARE some things I want to tell you, this morning:

  1. Today is the last day of my son Aaron’s appearances as John Wilkes Booth in the Sondheim musical Assassins. (For more about that, see yesterday’s post.)
  2. In less than a week, Aaron and I are boarding a plane to Edinburgh, Scotland, for wee-bit-less-than-a-complete-week of fun at the Fringe Festival.
  3. I love a good pun as much as anybody, and I remember seeing a great pun in Edinburgh, when my son and I were at the Fringe Festival last August.

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So what’s the connection? What’s my point, if I do have one?

Just this.  I see a lot of farewell greetings coming up, in the near future.

Thanks to Michael Brecker (for “Itsbynne Reel“), to Edinburgh Scotland, to anyone I’ve ever greeted or farewelled, to those who do their best to define terms, to people who make a real effort to say hello or goodbye, and — of course!  — to you, for reeling by here today.  It’s been real.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 558: Nothing Personal

Here’s a  cognitive distortion that came up several times last week, in therapy groups and elsewhere:

Personalization.

You see yourself as the cause of some negative event for which you are not primarily responsible, and you conclude that what happened was your fault or reflects your inadequacy.  Personalization distorts other people’s reactions into a direct, personal response to you.  For example, if somebody seems upset, you immediately assume it was because of something you said or did.

In Thursday evening’s group, we were discussing this distortion antidote:

Use Helpful Reminders.  Use helpful phrases to challenge habitual distortions. For example, for mind-reading or fortune telling, remind yourself “I’m not psychic.” Make a list of other phrases that help you, such as “I am doing the best I can,” “One step at a time,” etc. Consider sticking these reminders where you can see them.

One of the group participants said he’s put up this helpful reminder, where he works:

It’s not personal. It’s just business.

and he’s looked at that, thousands of times.

Personally, I too find it helpful to remember, over and over again, that most things are NOT personal.  It also helps me to realize that human beings are built to take things personally.   So, it takes constant practice to think,  when other people do (or NOT do) things,  that it’s

nothing personal.

If you’re wondering if something IS personal, there’s always this antidote, too:

Reality Testing. Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and concerns are realistic or true. This is a particularly effective response to the distortion of mind-reading

 

Yesterday, as I was walking to work, thinking about what I had learned during the week, this old friend of a tune showed up in my earphones:

(found here on YouTube)

I made note of the title — “Nothing Personal” — and considered it blog-worthy.

Here‘s the Wikipedia entry for the old, familiar, and beloved album …

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… where that song lives.

As I listened to “Nothing Personal,” I thought about all the personal time I’ve spent, enjoying the music of the amazing jazz players on that album:

Michael Brecker

Jack DeJohnette

Charlie Haden

Kenny Kirkland

Pat Metheny

Whenever I listen to Michael Brecker play, I feel a tinge of sadness, because of the too-soon loss of that

quiet, gentle musician widely regarded as the most influential tenor saxophonist since John Coltrane

— Charles J Gan (Associate Press), quoted on Wikipedia

As I was driving home last night, I heard the news that Charlie Haden, also on that album, and

one of the most influential bassists in the history of jazz

— Nat Chinen (New York Times)

had died that day.

 

While this post may have started with “Nothing Personal,” it’s turned into something quite personal.

My small tribute to some who are missing, and still live on.

(“NIghtfall” with Charlie Haden,  Michael Brecker, and Brad Mehldau, found here on YouTube)

Thanks to giant Charlie Haden, to gentle Michael Brecker, to group therapy (of all kinds), to  every talented human being (alive or gone) who contributed to this post,  and to you, personally, for participating here, today.

Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 391: What is the opposite of dreadful?

I chose the title of today’s post because:

  1. It’s a question, and I endorse the Socratic method (which is just a smart-sounding way of saying that I like a style of learning and teaching that involves questions and answers 1 ).
  2. I sometimes enjoy intentionally misleading people for a brief time, before explaining things. In this case, I’m guessing that my readers are thinking that this post is about something that it actually is NOT about. (At least, not intentionally.)

(pause, allowing you to think about all THAT)

Anyway, so what IS this post about?  What else do I want to say about the title?

The inspiration for this post was my waking up this morning, realizing that my trip to Panama is about two weeks away, and …

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… noticing that I am not filled with dread.

Right now, I am carefully checking my dread level, to see how much dread there actually is. I’m imagining a gauge, like this:

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DREAD

And …. I’ve got nothing.

So, while the Dread Gauge above, would indicate being full of dread, or — perhaps — “dreadful”, what’s the word for being the opposite of that, which is what I am, right now?

In other words, would this gauge …..

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be a pictorial representation of being “dreadless”?

Well, my dear readers, you’re probably noticing that I’m playing around with words right now.  And why? Is this avoidance, of something important?

And what does it mean that I want to keep playing with that word “dreadless”? Well, it could just be a reflection of the fact that I made that word up, so I’m naturally imagining different definitions, like this:

(Note: The above video is thanks to Boost467 and contains language meant for “mature audiences.”)

Well, I’m not sure if I’m avoiding something. Maybe I’m just having fun.   But I do know that I DID want to go other places, in this post, including:

  1. I wanted to give myself credit for making progress. That is, I was feeling more dread during the two weeks prior to my last trip, to London. (Check out these posts hereherehereherehereherehereherehere hereherehereherehere, here, and here — written during that two-week period.) (In some of those posts, the dread is more obvious than others. But it’s there. I know.)
  2. I wanted to think about what’s been helping, in making me dreadless, today.

What’s different about my upcoming trip? A few things I can think of, including:

  • This time, I’m traveling with another adult, who is helping with the planning.
  • Since my last trip, I have completed my last will and testament.
  • For whatever reasons, I am more at peace with my own mortality.

What else has been helping me be dreadless?  I’m not sure, but my best guess is the big two, according to Sigmund Freud: 3

  1. Work.
  2. Love.

Okay!  This post is now the opposite of endless.

Thanks to Sigmund Freud, Busta Rhymes, those who dread flying, people who dread death, and — of course! — to you, for reading today.


  1.  Here’s a video (posted by dieterwanke) of one of my favorite tunes — “Question and Answer” by Pat Metheny, whom I’ve written about, here, here, here, here, and here. It doesn’t include the complete performance, but I’m choosing this because it also features Michael Brecker, one of my favorite sax players, may he rest in peace.

  1. Yes, this is another number 1. Yes, I know I already had a footnote #1, above. However,  no matter how I try to fix this, WordPress insists on re-starting the footnote count. And yes, I’ve tried EVERYTHING to fix this (although, as George Carlin might say, “apparently not”).  So, for now, I’m going along with this WordPress glitch. What did I originally want to say in this footnote?  Two things: (1) I’m still thinking of car-related metaphors a lot. Am I driving too much? (2) I found that image here.

  2.  I found that image here, at a place for free stock images. Good to know.

  3. Perhaps you thought this footnote would include data supporting this. It doesn’t. It’s dataless.

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 26 Comments

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