Posts Tagged With: mindfulness

Day 2408: Accepted

Yesterday, I got this message from my son Aaron:

Hi, my fringe show has been accepted. There are shows from the 20th to the 24th.

Since Aaron and I both applied many months ago to perform our own shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival  (which starts in August), we’ve accepted the ever-growing possibility that neither of our shows would be accepted.

My son and I accepted the process of waiting to hear about our shows  very differently — I kept holding out hope (until  very recently) that we would both be accepted and Aaron very quickly accepted the stance of assuming that both of our shows would not go on.

I hope Aaron accepted both of my responses to his wonderful news:

Great!

What can we learn from this?

I hope you’ve accepted my intent there: to invite Aaron to hold on to hope in the future.

Personally, because I’ve accepted years of uncertainty dealing with medical issues from birth, it helps me to hold onto hope.  I’ve accepted that other people deal with uncertainty very differently. (It’s accepted that I sometimes say this in my Coping and Healing groups: “Different strokes for different folks.”)

I’ve also accepted that I probably will not get a Fringe show, which was titled Group “Therapy” with Ann. However, if I do get accepted, I’m ready!

In the meantime, YouTube has accepted a two-minute version of Free Therapy with Ann.

Aaron was accepted to teach English in Jordan this month, so when he gets back here on July 20th, we’ll make sure that YouTube accepts a longer version of that.

Also, I applied yesterday to join a panel in September for my 45th reunion at Harvard on “Picking up the Pieces: How Did You Embrace Life and Find Happiness Again?” In my application, I offered to talk about dealing with conflicting medical advice and finally getting a mechanical heart valve in 2016 (a process well documented and accepted on this blog). I wonder if my application will be accepted, especially since I offered to perform my original song “Shameless Appeals for Applause.”

Five years ago, I applied to be on a “Voices of Our Class” panel at my college reunion, and my application was not accepted.  I’ve accepted that often you have to try, try again.

In other “accepted” news, I’ve been accepted by the “Heart to Heart with Anna” podcast to be interviewed about my life with congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga).

I hope that my photos from yesterday are accepted by my readers:

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I’ve accepted that my boyfriend Michael doesn’t like to be photographed for this blog, but I think he can accept that last photo, above.

As always, your comments are accepted, below.

I think it’s accepted here that I’ll be ending my posts  with thanks to all who help me create them and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 2142: Most people are wonderful

Hello, most wonderful readers!

Most people dealing with a raging wild fire wouldn’t tweet “Most people are wonderful,” but Joel Engel did.

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I liked  that wonderful tweet and retweeted it.

Do you believe, like Joel Engel, that most people are wonderful? For the past two years, I’ve been having more trouble believing that most people are wonderful, but wonderful people like Joel Engel help me believe that, over and over again.

Are any of the photos I took yesterday wonderful?

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I am full of wonder about how few people there are in those photos. However, the one I can see is wonderful, so ALL the people in this post are wonderful.

Here‘s “Wonderful World, Beautiful People” from the wonderful Jimmy Cliff.

 

As always, I give thanks for the wonderful people who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for wonderful you.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 1976: The best things in life

If you stop for a moment, take a breath, and look around, you may find the best things in life.

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For me, the best things in life include

  • being with others,

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  • time to myself,

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  • beauty,
  • being of service,

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  • tea,

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  • peace,
  • tranquility,
  • harmony,
  • safe places,

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  • light,
  • gatherings,
  • diverse thinkers,
  • connections,
  • partners,
  • health,
  • hope,
  • healing,
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  • being involved,
  • nutritious food,

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  • being outside,
  • the ocean,
  • sunsets,

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  • companionship, and dancing.

Last night, I danced with my partner to “Down on the Riverbed” by Los Lobos.  It was one of the best things in my life.

What are the best things in life for you?

My best things in life have to include gratitude for all who support others, including YOU.

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Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 1891: Stones

About a thousand days and blogs ago (but who’s counting?) I wrote a post about the basket of stones I use in my work as a group therapist.

When I orient a new person to my groups, I ask them to choose a stone from the basket for a mindfulness exercise.  At the end of the orientation, I tell them that the stone they chose is their “Coping and Healing Stone” to keep. People seem to love their stones.

Yesterday, when I returned to work from a week-long group therapy conference in Houston,  the basket of stones was not in its usual place on my bookshelf.  I searched my office and the rooms where I do group therapy, but that big basket of beautiful stones  remained missing.

I asked Juli,  who had facilitated some of my groups while I was away, if she had taken the basket of stones from my office.  She said, “What? No!  What a weird thing for somebody to take!”  As she thought about it, she remembered that when she had gone into my office to get some shells for a group mindfulness exercise,  she didn’t see the stones there then. So they had apparently disappeared early in the week I had been away.

I continued to look for the stones and they continued to remain missing.

Then, I started to compile a list of suspects, which is what we humans do.  The most probable suspect was a patient with chronic mental illness, who  had been in my office and chosen a stone from the basket.  I checked to see if this patient had been in the practice the week I was gone and I discovered that he had been —   on Monday to see his primary care doctor.  I told his doctor that I suspected this patient had taken the stones.  His doctor agreed  that was possible and  we discussed the patient’s mental state and how to help him.  I told the doctor I was not going to mention the missing stones to the patient.

I got on eBay and ordered a new basket and new stones. I had two people scheduled yesterday to be oriented to my group, which meant I needed stones for the orientation mindfulness exercises. However, in an amazing  and fortuitous coincidence,  I had brought in with me several beach stones that were given to me on my birthday by my friend Megan’s daughter.

Later in the day, I was standing in the hallway talking to a co-worker, when the practice director came out of her office carrying MY BASKET OF STONES.  She explained that she had gone into my office while I was gone, taken the stones, and used them in a group.  She said, “You have a funny look on your face.”  Maybe she thought I was stoned.

I let the falsely suspected patient’s doctor know about what had happened  My conclusion: “The mentally ill get blamed for everything.”

Last night, I noticed that I had missed a phone call from my son Aaron, who is studying at the University of Edinburgh, which has many buildings built of stones.  He had called around 4:00 AM, his time.   I called him back right away.

Aaron, who often looks a little stoned (especially when he’s tired), said, “I won the Edinburgh University Comedy Competition tonight.”   My boyfriend Michael asked (as I knew he would), “Did you win any money?”  Aaron said, “No. ”  And he showed us what he had won. It was an enormous stone.

Feeling stoned yet?  Here are some photos from yesterday.

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If you look closely at that last photo, you can see Aaron holding the stone he won as the Edinburgh University Revue Comedy Champion 2018.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but feel free to throw out some comments below.

Thanks to all who helped me write this post about stones and — of course! — to YOU.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1726: Different perspectives

Because I’m a group therapist, I often encounter different people expressing  different perspectives. For example, earlier this week I invited people to practice mindfulness by focusing on a vase of flowers in the group room.  After the mindfulness exercise,  we heard these different perspectives:

  • “I love flowers.”
  • “I’m not a flower person.”
  • “Flowers help me relax.”
  • I wondered if those flowers are  fake.”
  • “Flowers remind me of funerals.”
  • “I need to remember to stop and smell the flowers.”

Yesterday, I thought about different perspectives as I was taking this photo:

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All the different perspectives in that photo may not be clear, but several people are taking pictures there and each of us has a different perspective on Boston’s Fenway Park.  I wish I could show you all those different perspectives.

Lately, many of the different perspectives I encounter include  expressions of anxiety, depression, stress, uncertainty, worry, concerns for others, and concern for self.  Different people also express and learn different perspectives on how to feel better and take the next right step. Sometimes, I suggest trying on this different perspective:

It’s safer than it feels.

Every person who is reading this post has a different perspective and my perspective is that I would love to know all those  different perspectives.

There are different perspectives about “Different Perspectives” on YouTube, but this is the most popular one:

 

Thanks to all the different perspectives that help me create different blog posts and thanks to you — of course! — for all your different perspectives.

 

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 1701: Very unusual hearts

My very unusual heart was happy to connect, yesterday, with two people who also have very unusual hearts.

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Andrena, Vicki, and I have congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (cctga). That’s a very unusual heart condition and it’s very unusual when three of us can share a heart-to–heart-to-heart talk.

My very unusual heart overflowed with gratitude  as we shared what was in our hearts.  Then, my very unusual heart spent another unusual day in the heart of their very unusually beautiful and busy city of Edinburgh.

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For Andrena, Vicki, and me, living with very unusual hearts is business as usual. Because we’re in this together, we are not afraid.

This very unusual heart loves jazz, so last night I  attended ” Jazz at the Movies” …

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… at the Edinburgh Jazz Bar …

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… and heard this very unusual song.

 

Do you think that everybody wants to be a cat?  I hope you express what’s in your very unusual heart in a comment, below.

Thanks,  from the bottom of this very unusual heart, to all the very unusual hearts and very unusual cats that helped me create this very unusual post and — as usual! — to you, for reading it.

 

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

Day 1543: Backgrounds

My background includes technical writing, marketing communications, and psychotherapy.

In the background, I’ve been looking up the definition of “background.”

Definition of background

  1. a :  the scenery or ground behind something – a picture of her son with mountains in the background – background scenery for the play

    b art :  the part of a painting representing what lies behind objects in the foreground – dark shadows in the background of the painting

    c :  an image that displays on a computer screen underneath the various available icons and windows – As they participate, they earn “Kinetic City Points,” which they can spend on downloadable prizes, such as screensavers and computer backgrounds. — Science

  2.  an inconspicuous position  – shy people who try to stay in the background

  3. a.  the conditions that form the setting within which something is experienced… set in a background of tropical luxuriance. — Tom Marvel

    b (1) :  the circumstances or events antecedent to a phenomenon or development – the economic background of the American Civil War took place against a background of increasing tension

    (2) :  information essential to understanding of a problem or situation – background information

    c :  the total of a person’s experience, knowledge, and education – comparing the candidates’ backgrounds –  ran a background check to make sure she had no criminal record

  4.  a. intrusive sound or radiation  that interferes with received or recorded electronic signals – a recording with a lot of background noise

    b physics :  a more or less steady level of noise above which the effect  being measured by an apparatus is detected;  especially :  a somewhat steady level of radiation in the natural environment (as from cosmic rays)

  5.  a level of computer processing at which the processor uses time not required for a primary task to work on an additional task — compare foreground.

In the background, I’ve been inconspicuously trying to correct the inevitable formatting errors and complications that occur whenever I try to bring a definition into the foreground of my blog.

Here’s the background of how I chose the title of today’s post: Yesterday morning I was changing backgrounds while I was self-soothing with a game of on-line solitaire.

Congratulations to me for winning at solitaire and congratulations to worldofsolitaire.com for offering so many backgrounds.  I usually use the first background shown above; perhaps from now on I’ll use different backgrounds, depending on my mood.

After I solitarily photographed all those backgrounds, I noticed other backgrounds throughout my day.

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That last photo, with the artwork and books in the background, shows my EMDR therapist, George Sawin, moving some EMDR equipment at the end of our session. George’s background includes psychotherapy, law enforcement, flower shops, and  business management.  When we were discussing the importance of backgrounds, I mentioned this poem to him:

THE INVITATION
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
 
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
 
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
 
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
 
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
 
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
 
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
 
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
 
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
 
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
 
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
 
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
.
Want to know the background of this background, shown above?
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Somebody in my therapy group yesterday morning suggested we project a YouTube video of a beach in Hawaii on the screen in the group room. We used that for our mindfulness exercise and then we left it running in the background throughout the group.
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What’s your background? Are backgrounds important to you?
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Please don’t stay in the background; instead, leave a comment below.
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My background includes an appreciation for acknowledging and expressing gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — no matter what your background.
Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1522: Found objects

A couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t find the mallet for my mindfulness chime.

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I objected to that loss, because I’ve been using that mindfulness chime in every group therapy session I’ve facilitated over the last four years. I looked and looked for the missing object, but it was nowhere to be found.

Because my groups would object if I stopped using that chime for mindfulness, I used  different found objects to ring it, including pens, scissors, markers … whatever object I found that would make a sound.

Eventually, I ordered a new chime, which I found in the mail last week.

Yesterday, I opened my umbrella …

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… and found this object:

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I guess that found object had fallen into my closed umbrella at work and then hid there until I found it weeks later.

I hope you don’t object to my finding these conclusions about that found object:

  1. When objects seem lost, they may very well be found again.
  2. Hope is the best found object of all.
  3. There are interesting objects to be found, everywhere:

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I found two teabags with the same message yesterday!  I didn’t object.

Here are some Found Objects I found on YouTube:

 

You’ll always find gratitude at the end of my posts, for every person and object that help me create them and for you — of course! — who’ve found this blog, here and now.

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

Day 1487: What is your greatest strength?

What is your greatest strength?

One of my greatest strengths is asking questions.

Earlier this week, I asked people in a therapy group what their greatest strengths were.  When somebody replied, “I don’t have any strength,” I changed my question to “What are your positive qualities?”

One of my greatest strengths is noticing interesting things around me and taking pictures of them.

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It looks like Siri’s greatest strengths include answering questions but NOT driving a car.

A lot of women in the 1970s, including me, saw great strengths in the late Mary Tyler Moore.

Another one of my greatest strengths is expressing appreciation for others.  Thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for all your strengths (even if you don’t feel strong).

Categories: group therapy, in memoriam, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1447: Life is short

Yesterday, the wonderful Kathy at cardiac rehab said to me

Life is short

when we were discussing my long-lived wish to live the rest of my short life near a beautiful body of water.

Whenever somebody says

Life is short

I agree with that person, even though I’ve lived  much longer than most people expected I would.

To me,

Life is short

means

  • seize the moment,
  • don’t waste time,
  • do what you love,
  • spend time with good people,
  • enjoy yourself,
  • don’t settle for less,
  • take care of yourself,
  • be mindful,
  • balance your needs with other people’s needs,
  • do what works,
  • accept and experience all your feelings, and
  • appreciate the here and now.

What does

Life is short

mean to you?

Here are the pictures I took yesterday when I was seizing the moment, not wasting time, doing what I loved, spending time with good people, enjoying myself, not settling for less, taking care of myself, being mindful, balancing my needs with other people’s needs, doing what worked, accepting and experiencing all my feelings, and appreciating the here and now:

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Because life is short, I won’t keep you much longer, but here’s a short song with lots of life.

Short thanks from this short person to all those who helped me write this short post and — of course! —  to you, for improving my short life with your short visit, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

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