Posts Tagged With: mindfulness

Day 3134: Mindfulness over 50

Mindfulness — staying in the moment as much as you can — is healing, no matter how old you are.

Yesterday, over-50 me was mindful of people I love and the beauty around me.

I am mindful that today is National Mutt Day, but I’m still going to look for a shelter cat.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “mindfulness over 50.”

I’ll be mindful of any comments you leave, below.

Thanks to all who contribute to my daily mindfulness here, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Day 3087: Sitting with the discomfort

Last week, when I was sitting at my laptop conducting an online therapy session, I gave somebody the assignment of sitting with the discomfort. When that person had some discomfort figuring out the details of the assignment, I said, “Sit for ten minutes every day, get in touch with the discomfort, and see what happens.” My belief was that it would not be difficult to get in touch with discomfort, because we are all feeling some discomfort these days.

Because I feel discomfort asking somebody to do something I am not willing to do, I committed to doing the same assignment of sitting with the discomfort daily for ten minutes until our next therapy session.

I have been sitting with the discomfort since then and, as I sit here with some discomfort (the aches and pains of early rising), I am comforted to tell you that I am finding that assignment helpful.

Too often, we deal with our discomfort with distraction, addictions, avoidance, and disconnection. It helps to just BE with the discomfort for ten minutes a day, noticing and observing without judgment.

Here are some images I captured yesterday when I was not sitting with the discomfort:

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There is some sitting, some discomfort, but mostly joy in “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain.

I won’t be sitting with discomfort waiting for comments on this sitting-with-discomfort blog post.

I am grateful and comforted to be sitting, standing, walking, and blogging for you!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 3058: Very busy brains

Two nights ago, when my very busy brain woke me up and prevented me from getting back to sleep, I tweeted this …

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I received very many helpful responses about very busy brains.

My very busy brain did come up with this mantra a month ago: “I am at peace. We are all one, connected.“ However, when my very busy brain is interfering with my sleep, I have trouble remembering it! This reminds me of the very first time I ever noticed the very busy Jeff Goldblum.

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Do you see evidence of very busy brains in my other images for today?

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Just like Scorpio Rising …

… I calm my very busy brain by spending time in nature and photographing it. Here are some photos I took within 20 busy miles from where I grew up:

Very busy brains tend to go into the future, often with worry about what will be. We need to refocus, over and over again, on the precious present moment.

My very-busy-brained husband, Michael, suggested yesterday that we calm our very busy brains by committing, once again, to no worry for a year. We tried that once before, starting in April 2019, and, unfortunately, our brains got very busy with worry in March of 2020, when I and very many other people came down with COVID.

Do any other very busy brains want to join me and Michael in committing to no worry for a year?

My very busy brain goes into the future and the past, so here’s one of my very favorite TV show theme songs from the distant past:

My very busy brain looks forward to some very busy activity in the comments section, below.

Finally, here’s some very busy gratitude for all who help me create these very busy posts, including YOU!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 3030: Your calm place

Last week, in a Coping and Healing group, I did a mindfulness exercise where I invited people to go to a calm place — remembered, imagined, or where they actually were in the moment. Most of the calm places involved water.

My calm place was exactly where I was: my son’s old room, in front of a computer screen filled with group members. Using mindfulness — focusing on your breath and doing your best to be in the moment, accepting all your thoughts and constantly redirecting your attention to the here and now, letting go of judgment — your calm place can be exactly where you are.

I’m in my calm place here and now, creating this blog post for you and me. Do you see calm places in today’s images?

I’m in my calm place whenever I’m watching British competition shows like “The Great British Bake Off” and “The Great Pottery Throw Down”. Those shows, despite the constant possibility of disastrous results for the contestants, are so much more calming than American competition shows.

Here‘s what I find when I search YouTube for “your calm place.”

It’s challenging to get to your calm place when there is so much to be vigilant about, these days. Please help make this blog a calm place by leaving a comment about your calm place, below.

Gratitude helps make every place a calm place, so thanks to all who help me create this daily blogging place, including YOU.

Categories: group psychotherapy, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Day 2539: What attracts our attention

When I was driving to work the other day, my attention was attracted by a story on the radio about how Christmas lights on a vehicle are illegal because they distract and attract too much attention.   The reporter said, “The animal in us notices everything that moves.”

Yesterday, when I was distracted by all the activity in the hall outside the group room (which I could see through the glass door), I invited the group members to do a mindfulness exercise where we noticed what attracted our attention and then stayed with that. What attracted my attention was not the activity outside the room, but rather the little ripples in my water bottle that was standing on the table and reflecting the movements in the room.  Those ripples totally kept my attention throughout the mindfulness exercise.

What attracts my attention these days includes:

  • movement,
  • danger,
  • anger,
  • loud noises,
  • mysteries,
  • stress,
  • trauma,
  • pain,
  • politics,
  • faces,
  • the unexpected,
  • color,
  • light, and
  • the things in these photos:

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That giant Santa cookie might have attracted my attention, but I didn’t buy it.  However, I did buy some black and white chocolate drizzled popcorn, which attracted my attention way too much last night.

What attracts our attention in this amazing video by Jacob Collier?

Gratitude always attracts my attention — that’s why I take so many photos of it!

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2372: 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: , , , , , , , , | 28 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: , , , , , , , | 26 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: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

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